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‘Nostos’ Album Is a Homecoming for University Singers

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The Cal State Fullerton University Singers’ collaboration with Yarlung Records has resulted in “Nostos: The Homecoming of Music” — an album of the repertoire the University Singers performed throughout Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Russia last June.

Robert Istad, director of choral studies and professor of music, says Yarlung Records approached him about the University Singers after hearing the choir perform with Kathleen Battle at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in fall 2016, and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Pacific Symphony Orchestra.

During the ensemble’s summer tour, says Istad, “the students and I worked really diligently to bring the music to life for our audiences, and we were completely overwhelmed with the passion and positive energy with which the audiences embraced our performances.”

They recorded the album a week after their return.

“… The spirit of the recording captured the excitement we felt about our tour and performing,” explains the conductor. “It really felt like a ‘homecoming’ of the program for us, and we wanted to give our listeners the experience of hearing our performance as it had settled into our souls over the course of the tour.” 

Because of the special equipment Yarlung uses, the recording was not edited or spliced in any way. “We also were not able to ‘sweeten’ or ‘enhance’ the recording at all. Therefore, every track was recorded as a whole take, without any editing or post-production. 

“It was a huge challenge, but something the students and I committed to tackle with all of our hearts,” adds Istad. “I believe you can hear that passion and tenacity in every moment of the album.” The result, he says, is “like nothing anyone has ever heard.”