(Photo: David Rutherford)
Sitting on the desk between me and my computer screen are two tall stacks of CDs, none of which are more than a year old. These two stacks represent the finest new recordings of sacred choral and vocal music we’ve received here at CPR Classical.

There are two stacks because the next two editions of Sacred Classics (Jan. 5 and 12) will be devoted to hearing as much of these wonderful recordings as four hours will allow on each day. Here are some highlights of the highlights of the year:

  • Seraphic Fire, a group only 10 years old and one of the finest vocal ensembles specializing in early music, released three albums in 2013. We’ll hear from their self-titled album, "Seraphic Fire."
  • Charles Bruffy continues to develop the Kansas City Chorale. Their album "Life and Breath: Choral Works by Rene Clausen" makes the list of the best of 2013
  • There were two different ensembles using music to raise money for their monasteries, one of which is truly excellent. The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles released their first album, "Advent at Ephesus," this past year. We’ll hear a couple selections.
  • Other top recordings include The King’s Singers, Conspirare, The Grant Park Chorus, Etherea Vocal Ensemble, and the Lincoln Cathedral Choir.

It’s been a rich year in sacred choral music, and with the passing of John Tavener, I expect there will be a good amount of tribute recordings in the coming year. We’ll see about that next January, but this January is proving to be a tribute to a terrific variety of music both old and new. I hope you can tune in.

Here's a featurette on the special collaboration between composer Rene Clausen and the Kansas City Chorale:

Featurette on the collaboration between composer Rene Clausen and the Kansas City Chorale. The resulting album, "Life and Breath," landed on the Sacred Classics Best of 2013 list by CPR Classical host David Rutherford.

 

Sacred Classics airs 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. each Sunday on CPR Classical. Listen online at cprclassical.org.