Caleb Burhans // evensong

Veni Sancte Spiritus … come Holy Spirit . . .

where are we now?

It’s funny that, often times, the most progressive music is the music that most obviously looks backward.

While David Lang has been writing for early music savants Anonymous Four, Caleb Burhans has been writing his own early-music-inspired pieces–-those which draw on the simple, monophonic textures of Gregorian Chant, while still achieving incredible emotional depth. I spent much of this album remembering Faure’s powerful and poetic Requiem mixed with Easter graduals, Perotin, and Bang on a Can. A pretty awesome list if you ask me.

Burhans’s album evensong, released this year on Cantaloupe, values retrospection. The opening track, a setting of the Magnificat, could be lifted from a number of different centuries, but, in a strange way, is distinctly 21st: a straight-ahead, monophonic setting that begins to bend and swoop as voices fall from the grace of melody. They’re simple gestures, and that’s why they’re so powerful–a theme for this…

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