Release of In a Different Voice: Music by Women Composers

By: Jonathan Ryan

Christ Church Cranbrook has a rich, beautiful history of not only music and the arts but also lifting up women. The rear window in the church, often called The Women’s Window, features some 60 women from the Bible and the 20th century. Christ Church was quick to add an ordained woman to its clergy once The Episcopal Church approved women’s ordination. Perhaps it is appropriate that Christ Church, in its Choir, has now released a full album of sacred music by women composers.

It wasn’t long ago that female composers still had to use a male name to have their music published and promoted. With the new album ‘In A Different Voice’, Christ Church gives light to women composers ranging from our own parishioners and Michiganders to the 12th century. The composers are from the United States, Canada, and Europe. A majority of them are living today, including two under 40 years old at the time of recording. Choral music ranges from the simplest of textures in pieces like the Magnificat or “He loves you,” to dense and complex in “And the swallow” based on Psalm 84.

Several selections are based on Gospel music and spirituals, several are settings of Psalms, several are about the Holy Eucharist, one tells the story of Jesus’ transfiguration, one is a piece originally commissioned by Christ Church Cranbrook in 2000, and the last is by our own Claire Danaher arranged by parishioner Dennis Rivard. Several pieces receive their first professional recording on this album. Curated by the then-Director of Music, Christopher Wells, the variety and programmatic flow brilliantly demonstrate a wide range of sacred music compositions. Recorded in the summer of 2022, Christopher led the Choir in outstanding, beautiful singing accompanied by then Musician-in-Residence Joe Balistreri.

A major recording like this is a significant and rare undertaking. The release of ‘In A Different Voice: Music by Women Composers’ is a very proud moment for Christ Church Cranbrook! Please join us in celebrating on Saturday, March 2, at 5:00 PM. The Choir will lead a music-filled service of Choral Evensong with Holy Eucharist featuring choral and organ music, all by women composers, including pieces from the recording by Michigan and CCC composers.

A festive reception will follow where we will hear more about the recording, share information on how to hear the recording digitally and offer CDs for purchase. Click here for more information. Join us and invite your friends!

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