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New York Polyphony creates peaceful mood

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

Editors Note: Last month The Union partnered with InConcert Sierra and the Nevada County Library on a Literacy and Music Project. We invited teenagers to attend the Feb. 17 New York Polyphony concert and submit a critique of the performance. The following unedited critique is the winning submission. In addition to having his submission printed, Miles Campbell also won a cash prize.

The resonating sounds and harmonization of the New York Polyphony were a warm welcome for me when I took my seat at the Seventh-day Adventist Church yesterday. Taking even the shortest of texts and essentially re-mastering them into polyphonic wonderlands for the ear, the New York Polyphony was able almost immediately to create moods of peace, balance, and most of all, remembrances of a simpler time. So it is no wonder that the New York Times rated their latest CD “endBeginning,” on their top 10 Classical CDs list.



One of those songs, entitled “Stella Caeliâ,” was written by a 15th century composer, Walter Lambe. Though not much is known about the composer himself, the song appears in England’s Edin Choir book. Another song, or rather, a group of songs entitled “Mass for Four Voices” was sung immediately after. These songs took common texts from the Bible, some denominational, others not, and turned them into choral masterpieces. This included tracks like “Gloria in excelsis Deo” (Glory be to God on High), and “Agnus Dei” (Lamb of God). But their work was not limited to church and religious works, as they spent the better part of the second half of the program singing love songs from around the same time period. One of my favorites was “Green Growth the Ivy, one of 3 songs they sang in English (the rest were sung in Latin). Although they seemed quaint by today’s standards, one of the singers told the crowd that they were, at the time, some of the most adored love songs around.

To end this, the New York Polyphony was surely a sight to be seen, heard, and felt. The audience was practically sold out, and for good reason. During both the intermission and right after, I could hear glowing conversations from almost everyone. Though the language they sung is almost extinct, the songs I heard that day are great enough to not only be played anywhere, but also anytime. With a standing ovation at the end of the concert, it was clear to see why these four men were dubbed “Early Music’s Fab Four” by Battleboro Reformer.




Miles Campbell is a senior at Nevada Union High School.


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