I sang my first arrangement of a Vietnamese carol Cao Cung Lên by Gregory Notebaert in 2015. From that time I have grown to appreciate and love his arrangements and original compositions for choir and orchestra. I have also known Gregory as conductor of both the International Choir & Orchestra of HCMC and the Saigon Chamber Consort where I sang in the bass sections. Gregory’s arrangements and original compositions are both challenging and sensitive to the poetic line of the lyrics. Some of his compositions, like Rorate Cæli Desuper incorporate traditional themes and styles – like Gregorian chant – which make them both appealing to the audience and challenging and fun for the chorister alike.
Greg’s favorite field is liturgical music, and he excels in it. He has a concern for the ritual specifications, to write music that is “in close connection” with the various rites (as requested by Vatican Council II). He is also concerned to help congregations participate liturgy through singing, while giving a place to the choir. His music is limpid, classical, full of finesse. His instrumental compositions breathe freshness and are a pleasure to listen to!
With Grégory Notebaert I realized several liturgical songs as a Lyricist. He understands the rhythm of words and the dynamics of sentences; his melodies are beautiful and they are dressed in harmonizations that enhance the singing. We are preparing together an upcoming CD with hymns of praise. The composition contest in Lyon in 2018, on the theme Laudato si, was a highlight of our collaboration. His musical work deserves attention.
Gregory Notebaert is an extremely talented composer and director. Having sung under his baton for over three years in the International Choir and Orchestra of Ho Chi Minh City as well as the Saigon Chamber Consort, I have had the chance to sing many of his original compositions. His works are intellectually complex with fascinating rhythmic devices as well as melodically appealing. In my singing career of over 30 years, I have rarely seen a talent such as Greg.