Floating Upstream is the first studio recording of Canadian choral composer Stephen Hatfield\'s music in several years, and showcases much of the eclectic composer\'s newest and best work. It is also the first such CD ever made by a public school choral music program in collaboration with and at the invitation of the composer. Music educators (as well as fans of Hatfield\'s music) will be particularly interested in this recording because the performing choirs range the gamut from grades six through twelve and the CD features both auditioned and non-auditioned groups. The beauty of Stephen\'s music shines through in the performances of both the advanced and younger ensembles. The physical package includes a 32-page booklet of texts, translations, and in-depth liner notes by the composer. Of this CD, Stephen Hatfield writes, \'Floating Upstream turned out to be my most varied and eclectic CD yet, a real magic carpet ride through a cosmos of interconnecting musical worlds. I know that sounds a bit much, but that\'s how I feel when I listen to this CD.\' Choral conductors worldwide should be familiar with Stephen Hatfield\'s music as it has become standard fare in the repertory of choirs at all ability levels. Stephen\'s music connects with students--much more so than the music of many other contemporary choral composers--not only because of the intrinsic beauty of the phrasing, or the rhythmic intensity of the line, or the natural way in which the melodies lie in the voice, although all of these descriptions apply. Stephen\'s music connects with students because his music treates the young singer as an emotionally complex individual leading an emotionally complex life. His compositions explore the entire range of emotion that young singers feel--from elation, joy, and love all the way to despair and heartbreak. Choral singers love singing Hatfield\'s music because they get a chance to delve aesthetically and artistically through this range honestly and openly. Choirs at Hopewell Valley Central High School and Timberlane Middle School (Pennington, New Jersey, USA) have been consistently recognized for their excellence at local, statewide, and national festivals and adjudications. The choral program welcomes all singers, regardless of prior ability or experience, and creates a unique social and musical environment within the school that is dedicated to expressive singing at the highest levels of artistry. Under the direction of Kenneth Elpus at the high school and Rebecca Elpus at the middle school from 2001 until 2008, this CD features the over 575 singers in the secondary choral program they created.
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