Choir Of Clare College, Cambridge, The Dmitri Ensemble, Graham Ross - Ascendit Deus

Published Thursday 16th April 2015
Choir Of Clare College, Cambridge, The Dmitri Ensemble, Graham Ross - Ascendit Deus
Choir Of Clare College, Cambridge, The Dmitri Ensemble, Graham Ross  - Ascendit Deus

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Harmonia Mundi HMU907623

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

The Feast of the Ascension, celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, is one of the chief feasts of the Christian year, in which the resurrected Jesus was taken up to Heaven in the presence of 11 of his disciples. The Feast of Pentecost, which falls 10 days after Ascension - seven Sundays (50 days, hence the name) after Easter Sunday - commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. Both feasts are rich in imagery and in musical material. Many of the Ascensiontide works in this programme set all or parts of Psalm 47, whose fifth verse begins "God is gone up with a merry noise". 'Ascendit Deus' is a five-part setting of that verse in Latin by the English Renaissance composer Peter Philips, which leads to a triple-time 'Alleluia'. Ralph Vaughan William's 'O Clap Your Hands', dating from 1920, sets the opening verses of the psalm, performed here in the composer's expanded version for choir, organ, brass and percussion. Patrick Gowers (born 1936), an alumnus of Clare College, is known mainly for his film and television scores, but his double-choir setting of 'Viri Galilaei' is much performed and was written for the ordination of the Bishop of Oxford at St Paul's Cathedral in 1987. Graham Ross's expanded arrangement for choir, organ, brass and percussion receives its world première recording here, alongside four new works, commissioned by Graham Ross and the Choir of Clare College in 2014, also receiving their world première recordings. Thus we get an interesting selection of both familiar and new works, all performed at the highest level by the choir and its accompanists: The Dmitri Ensemble, and organists Peter Harrison and Matthew Jorysz. 'Ascendit Deus' thus continues the high standard set by the three earlier releases in this series, 'Stabat Mater Dolorosa' (Passiontide), 'Veni Emmanuel' (Advent), and 'Lux de Caelo' (Christmas).

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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