The Skylark Vocal Ensemble’s previous recording, Seven Words From the Cross (2018), is an innovative, unusual collection of music for Good Friday that attracted considerable acclaim and two Grammy nominations. Skylark then moved in a completely different direction, experimenting with a collaborative ‘choral story concert’ idea that culminated in the genre-defying work Once Upon a Time .

This ambitious concept takes two fairy tales – Snow White and Th e Little Mermaid – narrating them in short sections interspersed with equally short, carefully chosen choral works. Holding all this together are the quite extraordinary incidental interludes by composer and conductor Benedict Sheehan, which weave these disparate components into a seamless, integrated musical and narrative experience.

Sarah Walker, a children’s librarian whose background in performance includes Appalachian folk storytelling and medieval plays, infuses these familiar tales with drama, sensitivity and excitement. The many choral works they rub shoulders with include Francis Poulenc’s Un Soir de Neige and Vaughan Williams’ Three Shakespeare Songs , as well as lesser known works by Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi (b. 1963) and two stunning Estonian songs by Veljo Tormis...

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