Monday, March 2, 2009

"I Believe" I hear what you hear...

Whatever that subject line might mean, I do want to say that this is a special posting with bittersweet connotations. The fun part is that this includes the download from what I believe is a scarce record that features none other than Noel Regney conducting one of his own compositions. As explained earlier in my blog, Mr. Regney is the co-composer of "Do You Hear What I Hear", the Christmas classic that gave some inspiration for this blog. As I also said earlier, Noel was a personal friend of my parents. He attended parties at our home and I heard him perform on piano on several occasions. So when I was clearing out my parents' house in preparation for the sale of my childhood home, and I just happened upon this beat up old LP literally rotting away amidst the rubble in the garage, I was pleased with the discovery. At first I had no idea what it was, torn and tattered and covered with scribblings I did not expect the record within to be playable. But when I realized it was Noel Regney, I had to see what kind of shape it was in. The answer was, so-so, I guess. Didn't look horrible, still in the slip cover sleeve, but upon playing it I could see it might be a questionable call for posting this for the public. Click removal can be a wonderful thing, of course, but with my modest resources, it can't solve the world's problems. But then, this was something a little bit special, and as it turns out, as I hoped, and despite the fact that the classical world is probably not my greatest passion, I really liked the music. I think that it's safe to say that this work is religiously inspired with six sections that blend together quite nicely. I was truly surprised at the quality of the instrumentalists and the vocalists on this recording. Very much a professional work with beautiful results. Unfortunately the condition of this particular piece of vinyl does a pretty good job detracting from that beauty I'm afraid. I did my best, and if I didn't think it was worthy of a listen, I wouldn't post it, regardless of the Regney connection. I think it's doable. I'm sure there are some pristine copies of this LP, probably at the Westport Library or at the Unitarian Church, etc. But until I come up with one of those, this is all I got, and I'm glad to have found it. There is a heavenly pastoral feel to much of it but it also delivers some rather modern sounds in a folksy sort of way. It was more interesting to me than some of this style of music can be, very relaxed and gentle, yet compelling. That's enough of trying to describe what you are about to hear. Listen to it yourself, forgive the crackle-pop that does distract in sections. You really should enjoy it .....I Believe.


Noel Regney - I Believe In Life: A Cantata For Our Times - 1977

With The Westport, Connecticut Unitarian Church Choir
Tree Of Life Records (June 30th, 1977)

1 - The Lord Is In His Mansion
2 - Invocation
3 - Prayer
4 - Meditation

5 - Hope
6 - Credo

Noel Regney - conductor

Gena Rees - soprano vocal soloist
Jane Nordli - alto vocal soloist
Arthur Sjogren - tenor vocal soloist
Joel Jones - bass vocal soloist

Viviane Bertolami - violin
Toni Matts - trumpet
Harriet Salerno - piano
Stephen Anderson - organ

The Choir of the Westport, Conn. Unitarian Church - vocals

This post is specially offered in tribute to Noel Regney as friend and artist

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