Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s ‘Tree of Life’ is an unforgettable musical experience

The Tabernacle Choir shows they perform original music with as much passion and perfection as they do well-established songs.

TREE OF LIFE: Sacred Music of Mack Wilberg,” by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square, $16.98

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is known around the world for its beautiful renditions of songs both edifying and entertaining. Its latest CD shows the choir performs original music with as much passion and perfection as it does well-established songs.

“Tree of Life: Sacred Music of Mack Wilberg” features original music written by choir director Mack Wilberg and his longtime writing partner, David Warner. The CD tracks are taken from various commissioned yet previously unrecorded works, including “The Prodigal” and “A Cloud of Witnesses.”

“The Prodigal” was composed by the songwriting duo in 2014. The music represents a unique musical genre, as Wilberg and Warner sought to create music that embodied the narrative elements of cantata-oratorio without including soloists. The resulting composition tells the story of the prodigal son from the New Testament in the united voices of the world-famous choir.

“A Cloud of Witnesses” was written for an Easter concert the choir performed in 2017. Wilberg again sought to present familiar stories through music in new ways. The subsequent works take listeners on a musical journey in which the Savior’s tomb is found empty.

In addition to these two musical journeys, “Tree of Life” also features other original works — including the album’s title song, which examines the beauty of the scriptural tree in all four seasons.

The combination of the compositional genius of Wilberg and the renowned talents of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square makes “Tree of Life” an unforgettable musical experience.

*This review first appeared in the Deseret News on August 2, 2018.

By Kurt Manwaring

Writer. History nerd. Latter-day Saint.

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