Choir Of Birmingham Cathedral, Marcus Huxley - A Song Of The Light

Published Saturday 2nd April 2011
Choir Of Birmingham Cathedral, Marcus Huxley - A Song Of The Light
Choir Of Birmingham Cathedral, Marcus Huxley - A Song Of The Light

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Regent REGCD361

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

I have reviewed a couple of Marcus Huxley's previous CDs when he has been a performer but this is the first release of his as a composer that has come my way. It may seem an odd place to start but I have to commend the tonal quality of the recording. It was made in Birmingham Cathedral with Gary Cole producing and it is crystal clear throughout, meaning that what we hear is what was played on the day. Marcus Huxley has been director of music at Birmingham Cathedral since 1986 so this release marks his silver jubilee. The composer works in a variety of styles, including evening canticles, anthems, carols, organ works, and a large scale setting of the St Luke Passion. The music is skillfully crafted yet approachable and accessible throughout and much of it should be within the capabilities of amateur choirs. Birmingham Cathedral Choir is, of course, far from amateur and its three sections (men, boys, and girls) all sing as well as we expect. The organ accompaniment is by Timothy Harper but the two solos are played by the composer himself. I enjoyed the little quotes to hymn tunes that Huxley slips in here and there but my particular favourite work is his short "Passion Of Our Lord According To Luke". This is a modern take on the old story without sounding modernistic, which is my short hand for contrived. This is a good (in both senses of the word) and honest composition that directs our thoughts and feelings toward the subject rather than drawing attention to the composer.

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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Reader Comments

Posted by Peter Chapman in Birmingham Cathedral @ 18:33 on Jun 7 2011

The CD can be bought from Birmingham Cathedral shop for £10

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