The Choir Of King's College, London, Gareth Wilson - In Memoriam

Published Saturday 11th June 2016
The Choir Of King's College, London, Gareth Wilson - In Memoriam
The Choir Of King's College, London, Gareth Wilson - In Memoriam

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Delphian DCD34146

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

The Choir of King's College London, which David Trendell directed for 22 years, pays tribute in a collection of specially chosen pieces by David's colleagues, friends and former students, interspersed with the Renaissance polyphony which was Trendell's area of scholarly expertise. We open with William Byrd's "Laudibus in sanctis" which sets the scene very well. Indeed it is difficult to imagine a clearer or more heart-felt performance and Gareth Wilson, the Acting Director of the choir, deserves our appreciation for rising to the challenge of replacing David Trendell following his untimely death in 2014. Trendell's love for the Song of Songs has inspired many of the inclusions, including a modern setting of "Nigra sum sed formosa" by Francis Pott alongside Trendell's own rediscovery of a setting by Jean Lhertier (c. 1480-1551). The nature imagery of Song of Songs threads through the disc, adding a suggestion of renewal and rebirth to the memorial tone of works written in the difficult months after Trendell's death. This is best seen in Silvina Milstein's "ushnarasmou" or "untimely spring" based on excerpts from the Kumaarsambhavam, a fifth-century Sanskrit poem. More familiar texts include Gareth Wilson's own version of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis and, my own favourite, Antony Pitts' "Pie Jesu" before we head back to the Renaissance for Palestria's "Quam pulchri sunt gressus tui" with a lovely soprano solo from Robyn Donnelly, followed by Jacob Clemens non Papa's "Ego flos campi". David Trendell and his choir have often been reviewed on this website and while he may no longer be with us we can be grateful for his many achievements both as a scholar and a choir director. This CD is a worthy memorial.

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