Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, Graham Ross - Haec Dies: Music For Easter

Published Saturday 19th March 2016
Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, Graham Ross - Haec Dies: Music For Easter
Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, Graham Ross - Haec Dies: Music For Easter

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Harmonia Mundi HMU907655

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

As a reviewer of choral music I always find myself snowed under with new material at Christmas but for Easter the situation is different. However, there are always good things to hear and for 2016 this latest release in an on-going survey of the church year from Graham Ross and the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge is well worth hearing. This programme works its way through the liturgical day and manages to survey five centuries of music from across Europe. We open with a Hymn at Lauds, "Aurora tucis rutilat" by Orlande De Lassus (1530/2-1594) and close with a Magnificat at Vespers by the same composer. The title piece, "Haec Dies" ("This Is The Day") comes at the Gradual at Mass in three versions, a plainchant and then settings by William Byrd (1539/40-1623) and a world premiere recording of a version by Matthew Martin (born 1976). As you can see, many of the texts are Latin but by no means all - I have already skipped over the setting of George Herbert's "Easter" by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) and later we hear the Russian "Dnes' spaseniye" ("Today Hath Salvation Come To Earth") by Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943). Up to this point in proceedings, most of the singing has been a cappella - and none the worse for that - but the three Anthems are all accompanied by Matthew Jorysz on the organ.
"Blessed Be The God And Father" by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876), "My Beloved Spake" by Patrick Hadley (1899-1973) and "Ye Choirs Of New Jerusalem" by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) all work well enough with just Mr Jorysz' accompaniment. In all there are four plainchants and 17 other pieces, all sung very well and those looking for some first rate choral singing for Easter will not be disappointed in this 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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