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Getting inside the Atlanta Symphony Chorus’ head

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When he led the ASO Chorus, Robert Shaw shared his thoughts in “letters” to his singers. Many of these were collected in “The Robert Shaw Reader” (Yale Univ. Press). In a review for the AJC, I wrote,

“Every choral singer and conductor in America should want a copy of this book. [Shaw’s] writings here are wise, humorous, witty, corny, profound and exasperating. . . . The bulk of the writings are those legendary choral letters, ideas and exercises and precise explanations the conductor would dash off after a choir rehearsal. Taken together, they’re a textbook on how to sing choral music, from beginner to most sophisticated, written by the foremost practitioner in the field, in crisp, passionate, uncompromising language.”

Jeff Baxter, now the ASOC administrator (and a tenor in the group), continues that noble work. Baxter has gathered some of his own recent essays, some unpublished Shaw writings, a few reviews and much else, and put it online. It’s a major collection in progress. The best writings by Dr. Baxter are worth printing on paper and re-reading at leisure.

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