Clare College Chapel Choir, Graham Ross - Requiem

Published Wednesday 13th January 2016
Clare College Chapel Choir, Graham Ross - Requiem
Clare College Chapel Choir, Graham Ross - Requiem

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Harmonia Mundi HMU907617

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Mea culpa. I had this CD ready to play well before All Saints' Day but I got inundated with Christmas music and put it to one side - which may well be the case in many churches: All Saints and All Souls have been high-jacked by Hallowe'en so we tend to remember the dead on Remembrance Day instead and then head into Advent. Well, that's what it seems like in my village. Anyway, I was pleased to finally get to hear this release somewhat later than I had intended. Graham Ross once again directs The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge in a programme linked to a specific date in the church calendar. This programme of works by English and Spanish composers is book ended by the Renaissance composer Tomas Luis de Victoria, whose great 1605 'Requiem' is preceded by shorter motets for both All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. The opening "O Quam Gloriosum", published in 1572 in Victoria's first book of motets, delivers the text "O how glorious is the kingdom in which all the saints rejoice with Christ" and became one of his most popular compositions. "Factum Est Silentium" by Richard Dering, an English contemporary of Victoria, sets the Benedictus Antiphon at Lauds on Michelmas Day. On this CD Dering's motet appears between 20th century settings of Isaac Watts' poem for All Saints' Day, "Give Us The Wings Of Faith". The first is a shortened and much performed version by Ernest Bullock and the second is Kenneth Leighton's fuller setting scored for soprano and baritone soloists, choir and organ; the respective soloists here being Gabrielle Haigh, Christopher Preston Bell and Peter Harrison. The "Justorum Animae" text is taken from the Apocryphal Book of Wisdom and is again heard in two settings, this time by Charles Villiers Stanford, published in 1905, and William Byrd from 1605. Ernest Bainton's setting of a text from Revelation, "And I Saw A New Heaven", is full of late-romantic harmony and Victoria's Spanish contemporary, Alonso Lobo, gives us his funeral motet, "Versa Est In Luctum". While this disc is indeed dominated by Victoria none of the other offerings should be considered make-weights. The programme sits together very well, the singing is excellent and if you have already heard any of the other releases in this series you will not be disappointed with this. If you have yet to meet Tomas Luis de Victoria this is a very good place to start.

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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