Alpha Omega News Review

John Michael McCluney Hymnancipation! Hymnprovisations Productions 3 volume/4 disk set This large collection focuses on the so-called lesser seasons of the church year, including Lent, Advent, Pentecost and Epiphany. All the songs are played on a synthesizer, without any vocals. McCluney coaxes an amazing variety of sounds from the synthesizer, from piano to calliope, 80s-era Human League to full orchestra, and saxophone to Gregorian Chant. In the liner notes to volume one, McCluney says the digital performance of these hymns is unlike the settings played on a pipe organ. "In some cases it is a radical departure from the original genre," he says. As someone who grew up in a traditional liturgical church, I'll say he's not kidding. Listening to a Polka-style version of "Joy to the World" is, to say the least, different. Also, the banjo and calliope-like version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" is a very different interpretation. There is a ton of music here. Before you decide that "too different is bad," visit the web site to see if this project's style of music suits you. - Rob S.


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