Choir Of Clare College, Cambridge, Graham Ross - Stabat Mater Dolorosa: Music for Passiontide

Published Monday 31st March 2014
Choir Of Clare College, Cambridge, Graham Ross - Stabat Mater Dolorosa: Music for Passiontide
Choir Of Clare College, Cambridge, Graham Ross - Stabat Mater Dolorosa: Music for Passiontide

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Harmonia Mundi HMU907616

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This is the second disc from the choir of Clare College, Cambridge in their new series based on the major festivals in the Anglican calendar and, like its Christmas predecessor 'Veni Emmanuel', produced by John Rutter. In this varied Passiontide sequence, polyphonic settings of the great texts of Holy Week are interwoven with a plainchant rendition of the mournful 'Stabat Mater': the traditional medieval poem meditating on the death of Jesus and the grief of his mother. Of course, with the wonders of modern technology we can change the running order to suit our mood. Hearing the 10 pieces of plainchant in one extended sequence is a treat for all who love medieval chant (although it might be too much for those who do not appreciate it). The remaining 15 tracks give plenty of variety and make a good contrast to the plainchant. All but one are in Latin, the exception being Stainer's beautiful "God So Loved The World". The remaining works give an excellent selection of music for Easter, so long as you are happy to listen in Latin or follow the translations in the CD booklet. Standouts for me include Byrd's "Ave Verum Corpus" and Durufle's "Ubi Caritas" but there is nothing here that is not worth hearing. Special mention must be made of two world premiere recordings of pieces by the choir's director Graham Ross, "Ut Tecum Lugean" and the spectacular "Precor Te, Domine". The chanting and singing, acappella throughout, is superb and the acoustic standard excellent. Having "done" Christmas and Easter we look forward to the next festival.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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