Choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Geoffrey Webber - Julian Anderson: Choral Music

Published Thursday 6th December 2018
Choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Geoffrey Webber - Julian Anderson: Choral Music
Choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Geoffrey Webber  - Julian Anderson: Choral Music

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 174216-
LABEL: Delphian DCD34202
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1


Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

I am writing in December 2018 and am hard pressed to think of a better choral release to have come my way in the last 12 months. The singing is spectacularly good and raises the Choir of Gonville and Caius to the forefront of the Oxbridge colleges and beyond. The recording was made at the other place, in the Chapel of Merton College, Oxford and the production by Paul Baxter is crystal clear. It needs to be as there are some complicated vocal lines weaving in and out and we need to be able to follow them all in order to truly appreciate what the composer has to say to us. Julian Anderson was born in 1967 and says that "the desire to evoke the sensation of light was one reason why I became a composer." His music is numinous and in places ecstatic and the easiest comparison would be to say that Anderson's style reminds me of Eric Whitacre. Much of the content on this CD is new with several premiere recordings, including a setting of the Nunc Dimittis commissioned by the choir. We open with an intimate wedding anthem, "My Beloved Spake", and move to "Bell Mass" composed in 2010 for Westminster Abbey and written in the key of D to resonate with the bells there. Anderson describes himself as "a very religious agnostic" and whether or not "Bell Mass" rings true with you it is certainly well worth hearing. "I Saw Eternity" takes just three lines by the poet Henry Vaughan and turns them into an a cappella tour de force which is followed by "Four American Choruses On Gospel Hymn Texts" which take words from Sacred Songs And Solos into a whole new world. Geoffrey Webber and his choir have spent around two years singing this music in concert and worship before finally committing it to disc. It has been well worth the effort. The Choir of Gonville and Caius have a commendable discography and this latest release only enhances it.

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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