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Clear Voices in the Dark

Sono Luminus
Release Date: May 24, 2024

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Interview with Skylark conductor Mathew Guard
1 When this Cruel War is Over - Weeping, Sad and Lonely  
2 Figure Humaine_ I. De tous les printemps du monde  
3 Johnny has gone for a soldier  
4 Figure Humaine_ II. En chantant les servantes s_e´lancent  
5 Break it Gently to my Mother  
6 Figure Humaine_ III. Aussi bas que le silence  
7 Johnny, I hardly knew ye  
8 Figure Humaine_ IV. Toi ma patiente  
9 Soldier’s Memorial Day  
10 Figure Humaine_ V. Riant du ciel et des plane`tes  
11 Workin for the dawn of peace  
12 Figure Humaine VI. Le jour m_e´tonne et la nuit me fait peur  
13 Abide with me  
14 Figure Humaine VII. La menace sous le ciel rouge  
15 The Battle Hymn of the Republic  
16 Figure Humaine VIII. LIBERTE´  
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Clear Voices in the Dark [Sono Luminus (DSL92278)], a new recording by the Skylark Vocal Ensemble under the direction of Artistic Director/Conductor Matthew Guard features Figure Humaine, Francis Poulenc’s hymn to LIBERTÉ  intriguingly interspersed with songs of the American Civil War. 

Poulenc’s Figure Humaine is considered one of the greatest works ever composed for an unaccompanied choir. Poulenc wrote the cantata in 1943 during the Nazi occupation of France, based on resistance-inspired poems by Paul Éluard including LIBERTÉ. The cantata is a stunning 8-movement exploration of the grim realities of war, culminating in an optimistic and embattled cry for liberty in the face of oppression. Asked why Skylark decided to record Clear Voices in the Dark now, Guard says “I think art borne out of a time of societal turmoil can be particularly profound; As we live once again in a time of unspeakable horrors in Ukraine, Russia, Israel and Gaza, we believe the music on this album can shed light on nightmares of the past through the art that emerged from them, and most importantly, affirm the incredible power of the human spirit to endure in times of tragedy. Rarely performed or recorded due to its difficulty, this is the first US recording of Figure Humaine.

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