Choir Of Clare College, Cambridge, Graham Ross - Veni Emmanuel: Music For Advent

Published Tuesday 12th November 2013
Choir Of Clare College, Cambridge, Graham Ross - Veni Emmanuel: Music For Advent
Choir Of Clare College, Cambridge, Graham Ross - Veni Emmanuel: Music For Advent

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Harmonia Mundi HMU907579

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

The familiar hymn "Veni Emmanuel" is emblematic of the Advent season - a period of reflection upon the meaning of Christ's coming. Framing this programme, the hymn paraphrases the great "O" Antiphons: plainchant settings traditionally sung on the days leading up to Christmas; complemented here by later works echoing their rich imagery and symbolism. Thus the overall impression reminds us a little of the famous Nine Lessons from King's College but here we get chant rather than Scripture interspersing the choral music. It works well and, of course, with programmable CD players one can easily skip the chants if they are not to your taste. Stripped of the Antiphons we are still left with a varied collection of Christmas hymns, all sung very well indeed. Some are ancient, including Byrd's "Vigilate", others are modern such as Rutter's "Hymn To The Creator Of Light" and all are worth hearing, particularly the finale of Graham Ross's arrangement of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" featuring some spectacular singing on this, its world premiere recording. Founded in 1971, the Choir of Clare College has gained an international reputation as one of the leading university choral groups in the world. Beyond its primary function of leading services three times a week in the College Chapel in Cambridge, the Choir maintains an active schedule recording, broadcasting and performing worldwide. Even if you have a good selection of Christmas CDs this is well worth adding to your collection.

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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