Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing: American Folk Hymns and Spirituals (MP3 Download)
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing hit #1 on the Billboard\r\rClassical charts.
This recording honors the enduring vitality of folk hymns and spirituals and their ability to anchor the soul in faith. From the sturdy strains of “Saints Bound for Heaven” and the fervent entreaty of “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me” to one of the most popular folk hymns of all time, “Amazing Grace,” these songs and hymns gave comfort, hope, and confidence to the early American pioneers. Their power and simplicity still inspire us today.
About the Author
The 360 members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir represent men and women from many different backgrounds and professions and range in age from 25 to 60. They reflect a medley of unique lives and experiences and are brought together by their love for singing and their faith. Their incomparable voices are the common chord that unites to form the choral group known all over the world as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir originated in the mid-19th century in Salt Lake City. As the Latter-day Saints moved west, Church President Brigham Young included musicians among members of the advance parties. Consequently, a small choir first sang for a conference of the Church in the Salt Lake Valley on August 22, 1847, just 29 days after the first group arrived. The origins of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir may be found in the desire and commitment of early converts to include appropriate music in both sacred and secular events.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has appeared at 13 world’s fairs and expositions, performed at the inaugurations of five U.S. presidents, and sung for numerous worldwide telecasts and special events. Five of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s recordings have achieved “gold record” and two have achieved “platinum record” status. The most popular was the Grammy-Award-winning 1959 release of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
An Interview with Mack Wilberg
Between arranging, conducting, recording, planning for this summer’s Midwestern tour, and overseeing the artistic direction of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Mack Wilberg stays quite busy. But he was kind enough to let us steal five minutes and ask him a few questions about the Choir’s latest release, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.
Deseret Book: Folk hymn arrangements seem to be your specialty. They are what you’re known for in the choral world. What was it like arranging and recording an entire album that revolves around this passion?
Wilberg: I have such a deep appreciation for the folk music of our heritage. It is one of the great American musical genres, I think, because the songs resonate with people of all persuasions. Coupled with the African-American spiritual, this is music that has inspired people for generations. It is the fiber of our heritage. To create an album dedicated to that core was rewarding and moving.
Deseret Book: The release of Come, Thou Fount coincides very closely with the one-year anniversary of your appointment as director of the Choir. What have been some of the highlights of the last year for you?
Wilberg: The highlight of just about every year is our annual Christmas concert because it gives us a chance to share our music live with people here in Salt Lake as well as with those who watch it internationally via satellite and on our PBS broadcast. This last year it was particularly exciting to share the stage with such a high-caliber artist as Brian Stokes Mitchell, and, of course, to have Ed Herrmann join us as our narrator. It was an honor and a delight to work with both of them.
Deseret Book: Is there a particular song on this album that holds special meaning or stands out above the rest for you?
That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child!
Wilberg did, however, say that the Choir is currently working on a new music video for “My Song in the Night” (track 2 on Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing), so readers should watch DBTV and mormontabernaclechoir.org for this upcoming video debut.
by Customer - reviewed on April 15, 2009
Just when you think that it can't get any better, it does. From the Copland-esque arrangement of "Down To The River To Pray" to the deeply moving "Amazing Grace," this CD is a lush, gorgeous landscape of sound and spirit. (Speaking of which, I was never a big fan of "Amazing Grace" -- until now. The bagpipes and drums are simply stunning.) Congratulations to the Choir, Orchestra and Dr. Wilberg for a superb recording.
"Amazing Grace" amazing
by Larry - reviewed on May 19, 2009
I agree that "Amazing Grace" is worth the cost of the album itself. We enjoyed and were impressed with the whole album but were blown away by "Amazing Grace."
by Stephani - reviewed on April 01, 2009
My entire family adores this CD - thank you!!!
It doesn't get any better than this!
by Customer - reviewed on March 24, 2009
Nobody knows the American folk hymn tradition better than Mack Wilberg, and no other choir sings Wilberg's arrangements better than this. The Tabernacle Choir's peerless precision, enthusiasm, and genuine joy are abundant on this recording, and the orchestra plays with great elan and versatility of style. Wilberg, the choir, and this repertory are a perfect match. Although we've come to expect nothing less than excellence from these musicians, the real surprise for me on this disk are the spirituals. They are sung with more (dare I say it?) "soul" than I thought the choir could ever muster, in large part due to Alex Boye's amazing solos. They show that the choir is no longer merely "dabbling" in this genre. They have mastered it, and sing with an unaffected sincerity and authenticity so often lacking in the overly "operatic" renditions of spirituals that proliferate today. It's refreshing to hear these works performed by people who sound like they really mean what they sing. Bravo MoTab! Bravo Orchestra! Bravo Mack Wilberg!
The Choir Album I've been waiting for!
by Chad - reviewed on March 24, 2009
I'm excited about this album, I love the old American folk spirituals and Mack Wilberg's arrangements. I'm listening to the CD right now and really enjoying these wonderful stirring hymns. Love IT! The Bagpipes on "Amazing Grace" are amazing. Quite a beautiful arrangement and sound.
I LOVE this CD! It's incredible.
by Ileana - reviewed on June 12, 2009
I am not a big fan of choir music, but this CD is a must have. I LOVE it!! Just to hear I Want Jesus to Walk With Me would be worth it's price - the soloist is fabulous! What a voice! And the arrangements are fresh and true to spiritual music. I definitely recommend this CD.
by Nelson - reviewed on March 26, 2009
This recording may very well go down as one of the Tabernacle Choir's greatests ever. Wilberg's arrangements, as always, are divine, from the hauntingly beautiful "My Song In the Night" to the grand and unmatched "Come, Thou Fount." One thing I especially appreciate about this recording is that they did fresh, new recordings of a few of the anthems that were previously released on other recordings rather than just copying them. For those familiar with the previous recordings, you will be able to pick out new nuances that make this recording unique and different. Listening to this CD, just like any other MTC CD, is a deeply moving spiritual experience. The Tabernacle Choir is more than a choir; they are vessels through which the Holy Spirit speaks and sings. The same can be said about the orchestra. The recording was done about a year ago, but it was well worth the wait. Simply put, it does not get any better than this. Thank you, Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, and Dr. Wilberg for your commitment to excellence and integrity in all that you do. You are all appreciated more than you will ever know!
by Customer - reviewed on April 04, 2009
This album is most excellent. It contains very spiritually-uplifting music. I shared with some friends who commented that if you close your eyes and picture yourself in the tabernacle in Salt Lake, you are probably not going to remain in your seat while some of these songs are performed" It is by far one of the best ever produced and I highly recommend it.
by Lori - reviewed on October 01, 2009
This CD is absolutely beautiful to listen to! We have our favorite songs, and includes most of the songs on the CD! It just fills your soul with tranquil joy!!!! It gives me goose-bumps every time I listen to it!!!
Powerful. Simply powerful.
by Gary - reviewed on March 31, 2009
I have been waiting for this one a long time! This CD really demonstrates the pure power of the choir--more than any of the recordings before it. The opening song shows that. The CD is just amazing to listen to. All of the songs are arranged wonderfully, and they express a cheerful optimism for this life and the world to come. I can honestly say this is one of the absolute best CDs put out by the Choir, and that is saying something.
by Holly - reviewed on April 09, 2009
Mack Wilberg's orchestrations are both sweeping in scope and tender. The choir is more unified in sound than ever. "His voice like the sound" and "My Song In The Night" are so intimate and moving. As everyone has stated, this is one of the finest MTC recordings produced, with universal repertoire people of all walks of life and faith can enjoy. Just the right balance between peaceful and rousing. "Amazing Grace" worth the cost of the CD alone - (bagpipes blow you away)!
A CD for everyone
by Kristina - reviewed on October 30, 2010
As someone who has grown up in the SE USA I have loved singing American folk hymns and spirituals most of my life. I never hesitated to choose music from this genre to sing in Sacrament meeting and other church meetings, even when it was considered unusual to do so (esp. when I lived in Utah). I'm thrilled that Wilberg and the MTC have embraced this uplifting music, recording CDs with songs that have the ability to touch the hearts of all who listen, not just members of the LDS church. This is my 2nd favorite MTC album ever (Peace Like a River is my #1). Bravo MTC!!!