Thursday, January 6, 2011

Albany Records Releases CD 'How Sweet the Sound,' Darryl Taylor, Countertenor & Brent McMunn, Piano

[How Sweet the Sound: A Charm of Spirituals; Darryl Taylor, countertenor; Brent McMunn, piano; Albany Records Troy1244 (2011)]

Albany Records is proud to announce the release of How Sweet the Sound. This recording features arrangements of spirituals by Margaret Bonds, Maria Thompson Corley, Hale Smith, George Walker, Hall Johnson, Moses Hogan, Jacqueline Hairston, Harry T. Burleigh, Deon Nielsen Price, Robert Morris, Betty Jackson King, Thomas H. Kerr, Jr., and Roland Carter. The music is performed by Darryl Taylor, countertenor, and Brent McMunn, piano.

With this recording, Darryl Taylor and Brent McMunn have assembled a superb collection of classics from the still growing corpus of spirituals, including a number of arrangements by key figures in the history of black musical composition. Most notably, they have carried forward Harry T. Burleigh’s landmark Deep River which, in 1916, was the first spiritual arranged for voice and piano, expressly for the concert stage. With this project, Mr. Taylor and Mr. McMunn contribute powerfully to the continuous translation of this aged music from oral tradition to composition, from folksong to art song, and from cotton field to concert hall.

Darryl Taylor is an internationally renowned countertenor whose performances of art song, opera, and oratorio are known for their compelling artistry and authority. He has performed in concert halls across the United States and Europe, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Merkin Concert Hall and the Palau de la Mùsica in Barcelona, Spain. Other performance highlights include appearances at the Carmel Beach Festival, the Bach Collegium San Diego, and a first place win in the Alexander International Vocal Competition. Mr. Taylor has made a number of recordings with Albany Records, including Fields of Wonder (TROY897), Poetry Prelude (TROY830), and Love Rejoices (TROY428).

Pianist Brent McMunn is currently Conductor/Music Director of Opera at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. He has held conducting positions with the New York City Opera and its national touring company and he has been a guest conductor with a number of North American companies, including Arizona Opera, Calgary Opera, Lake George Opera, and the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. Mr. McMunn’s repertoire includes over 70 works, including pieces by Handel, Mozart, and Puccini as well as a number of new works and premieres. Mr. McMunn enjoys working with up and coming performers in the young artist programs of the major companies, as a coach at the Juilliard School of Music, and as a faculty member of the Aspen Music Festival.

How Sweet the Sound (TROY1244) is available online at, at fine
record stores or from Albany Music Distributors,
915 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207 • 1.518.436.8814

[Margaret A. Bonds (1913-1972), Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949), Hale Smith (1925-2009) and George Walker (b. 1922) are profiled at]

Comment by email:
Thanks so much! I was so honored to be included in this group of composers. Maria Corley

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