There is an uneasy relationship between worship music and worship CDs. It is rare that the same music works well for congregational singing and for private listening. Hilariter's The Whole Bright World Rejoices is an exception. From the first glimpse of the playful cover photo to the last song on the CD, the recording has an infectious charm.
It is surprising that such a wide variety of music—Black Gospel, 17th German, Iona, Hispanic—could work together as a cohesive whole. Perhaps it is the prominent role of the choir that helps weave all these strands together. Most songs are vocally driven, with just enough instrumentation to add a unique musical flavor without overshadowing the voices. In fact, the vocal orientation of the CD is so strong that the two instrumental pieces almost feel like an intrusion. Hilariter is clearly an ensemble that enjoys making music together. That sense of community permeates the recording, inviting the listener into their circle.
Most of these songs would work well in corporate worship. Some are simple, repetitive choruses like “Sanna, Sannanina,” “Kwase Kwase/Be Like Him” and “We Will Go Out with Joy.” Others have more substantial texts and longer musical forms— “You Walk Along Our Shoreline,” “The Glory of God,” and “Hilariter.” Only the two instrumental pieces and a few of the more complicated vocal arrangements break from the participatory mode of the rest of the music. Among these is Bruce Cockburn's “Festival of Friends” which works surprisingly well in the context of a worship CD, painting a beautiful picture of the eternal banquet.
The Whole Bright World Rejoices
is not only an enjoyable CD, it also introduces an exciting repertoire of worship songs and styles for use in local churches.
- Greg Scheer