Release Date: February 10, 2015
Catalog #: NV5989
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Vocal Music

Moonstrung Air

Choral and Vocal Music of Gregory W. Brown

Gregory W. Brown composer

The Crossing | Donald Nally director
New York Polyphony “Spring” Ensemble | Eric Dudley conductor

The human voice: A forceful yet delicate instrument. The weight of its expression can be as heavy as a ringing bell or as light as the whisper of an autumn breeze. Composer Gregory W. Brown presents a collection of his vocal and choral works on the Navona Records release MOONSTRUNG AIR, capturing the wonder of the human voice as our rooted connection with nature.

Five Women Bathing in Moonlight depicts an idealized rendering of a sea-side party scene by poet Richard Wilbur, evoking a dreamlike and timeless atmosphere with shifting harmonic centers, imitative polyphony, quasi-Baroque ornaments, and canonic structures. Entrai, pastores, entrai and Three American Folk Hymns – “The Dying Californian,” “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” and “The Morning Trumpet” – are settings of traditional tunes that pay tribute to the original while drawing on Brown’s extensive singing and conducting background to create distinctive textures that range from incisive to gossamer. Imagery of the natural world and our gradual awareness of its presence in the shroud of our daily lives are primary themes in Vidi Aquam and Spring. Brown’s innovative and adept technique shines in Missa Charles Darwin, a setting of texts from Darwin in the form of the Roman Catholic Mass featuring DNA from one of Darwin’s finches translated into motivic material.

Brown is a composer, conductor, scholar, and experimental musician as well as founding artistic director for the Smith College Festival of Sound & Space. He received his DMA from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia and his MM from Westminster Choir College in Princeton NJ. He has studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan, Stefan Young, Adrian Childs, and others.


Hear the full album on YouTube

Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 5 Women Bathing in Moonlight Gregory W. Brown The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 5:05
02 Vidi aquam: To Stir Up Our Wits Gregory W. Brown The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 3:02
03 Vidi aquam: Observing Nature Gregory W. Brown The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 7:56
04 Vidi aquam: Asking of Nature Gregory W. Brown The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 4:59
05 Spring Gregory W. Brown Spring Ensemble | Eric Dudley, conductor 4:50
06 Missa Charles Darwin: Introitus. Tropus ad Kyrie Gregory W. Brown New York Polyphony 2:16
07 Missa Charles Darwin: Gloria Gregory W. Brown New York Polyphony 3:48
08 Missa Charles Darwin: Alleluia Gregory W. Brown New York Polyphony 3:07
09 Missa Charles Darwin: Credo Gregory W. Brown New York Polyphony 6:13
10 Missa Charles Darwin: Sanctus Gregory W. Brown New York Polyphony 4:09
11 Missa Charles Darwin: Agnus Dei Gregory W. Brown New York Polyphony 2:53
12 Entrai, pastores, entrai Gregory W. Brown The Crossing | Donald Nally, conductor 5:22
13 3 American Folk Hymns: The Dying Californian Gregory W. Brown New York Polyphony 3:06
14 3 American Folk Hymns: Sweet Hour of Prayer Gregory W. Brown New York Polyphony 4:21
15 3 American Folk Hymns: The Morning Trumpet Gregory W. Brown New York Polyphony 3:50

Artist Information

Gregory W Brown

Gregory W. Brown


Composer Gregory W. Brown’s works have been performed across the United States and Europe — most notably in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Cadogan Hall in London, and the Kleine Zaal of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. His commissions for vocal ensemble New York Polyphony have been heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today, BBC Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Kansas Public Radio, and Danish National Radio; his Missa Charles Darwin received its European debut in March 2013 at the Dinosaur Hall of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde.

The Crossing


The Crossing is a professional chamber choir conducted by Donald Nally, dedicated to performing new music and committed to addressing social, environmental, and political issues through nearly 180 commissioned premieres. Collaborating with prestigious ensembles and venues like the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonics, Park Avenue Armory, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall, The Crossing has released 33 albums, earning three GRAMMY® Awards for Best Choral Performance and multiple nominations. The Crossing is Musical American 2024 Ensemble of The Year.

Donald Nally

Donald Nally


Donald Nally collaborates with creative artists, leading orchestras, and art museums to make new works for choir that address social and environmental issues. He has commissioned over 180 works and, with The Crossing, has 29 recordings, with two Grammy Awards and eight nominations. Nally has served as chorus master at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Welsh National Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and the Spoleto Festival in Italy.