The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Deutsche Grammophon, one of the leading classical recording labels in the world, announced today that they will collaborate on a recording to be released on the Deutsche Grammophon label. The CD, slated for release worldwide in September 2013, will feature the Choir; its companion ensemble, the Orchestra at Temple Square; and internationally acclaimed baritone Bryn Terfel.
“We are honored to be recording with this prestigious label and delighted to work again with our great friend Bryn Terfel,” said Mack Wilberg, music director of the Choir. Terfel first appeared in a Choir Christmas concert in 2003 and again in 2007 concerts celebrating the reopening of the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Terfel also recorded the baritone solo on Wilberg’s Requiem, released on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir recording label in 2008.
Mark Wilkinson, president of Deutsche Grammophon, indicated, “We are privileged to be able to help bring together two true giants of the music world like Bryn and the Choir. This is Bryn’s first studio album in three years, and we are very excited at the prospect of bringing the Choir, its special sound, and its unique story to an international audience. This is turning into a real event’ and will be one of the company’s key priorities this autumn.”
The repertoire for the recording will have a decidedly Americana feel but will also reflect the shared Welsh heritage of the Choir and Terfel. Many of the founding members of the Choir were Welsh immigrants to Utah. Among the songs included are “Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah” with English and Welsh verses, a new arrangement by Tabernacle organist Richard Elliott of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” with jazz organ accompaniment, and “Faith’s Call,” by British royal wedding composer Paul Mealor, newly commissioned just for this recording. The tracks include 10 new arrangements by Mack Wilberg, one of the world’s foremost arrangers.
Choir president Ron Jarrett said, “This is the perfect project for the Choir and Orchestra because it will enable us to transcend cultural and generational boundaries to unite people around the world through music.” Jarrett indicated that Deseret Book, the Choir’s recording distributor for over a decade, will also be involved in the project by distributing the CD through the Latter-day Saint (Mormon) market, which it knows in detail. Deseret Book and Deutsche Grammophon are exploring ways to increase Choir music sales both domestically and internationally.
The recording will take place in six recording sessions in the Salt Lake Tabernacle during the week of May 6. Mr. Terfel will journey to Utah on his way back from performances in Australia and New Zealand. Grammy Award-winning sound engineers for both the Choir and Deutsche Grammophon will collaborate to produce the CD recording. Terfel will also appear on the Choir’s weekly broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday May 12 (Mother’s Day). The public is invited to attend the broadcast in the Tabernacle. The recording sessions (including the usual Thursday night open rehearsal on May 9) will be closed to the public.
The 360-voice Choir, accompanied frequently by the Orchestra at Temple Square, has toured around the world, performs dozens of concerts per year and has released over 200 recordings since its first recording in 1910. Its weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcast is the world’s longest continuing network broadcast and currently airs on over 2,000 radio, TV, cable and satellite stations worldwide. The Choir’s official YouTube channel (youtube.com/MormonTabChoir) has a huge archive of full episodes of Music and the Spoken Word, past Christmas specials, and concerts featuring special guests. Fans can also follow the Choir on Twitter @MormonTabChoir.
Bryn Terfel was born and raised in northern Wales, where he was singing onstage in Eisteddfod competitions by the age of four. He later graduated from London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has appeared in all the major opera houses in the world and has recorded numerous award-winning CDs. Though he performs all over the world, he still maintains strong ties with Wales. Every year he hosts the Faenol Festival in northern Wales and brings a mixture of opera, Welsh rock, and traditional music back into his own community.
Deutsche Grammophon is one of the premiere classical recording labels in the world today. Founded in 1898, it is one of the oldest surviving record companies, with headquarters today in Berlin, Germany. It is a unit of Universal Music Group Worldwide, whose sister companies include Decca and Universal Music. Its list of artists reads like a who’s who of the professional music world, including artists such as Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, Hilary Hahn, Anna Netrebko, the Berliner Philharmoniker, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Wiener Philharmoniker, and many others.