Ely Cathedral Girls' Choir, Sarah MacDonald - Sing Reign Of Fair Maid

Published Sunday 16th November 2008
Ely Cathedral Girls' Choir, Sarah MacDonald - Sing Reign Of Fair Maid
Ely Cathedral Girls' Choir, Sarah MacDonald - Sing Reign Of Fair Maid

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Listeners with strong feelings about the sound of traditional Anglican choirs will find this CD a mixed experience. Ely Cathedral Girls' Choir was formed in 2006 and this is their debut recording under the direction of Sarah MacDonald. The singers are, of course, girls and the vocal tone is different to the sound made by boys. I do not say better - or worse - merely different. But if you do not like the sound of a girls-only choir this would be a good place to challenge your preconceptions. The quality of the singing is first class and it was only in the louder parts of Handel's "Let The Bright Seraphim" that I wanted to hear a bit more power. The content is a pleasing mix of ancient and modern, best summed up by Britten's homage to medieval music in his "Ceremony Of Carols". Also from Britten we have "Corpus Christi Carol", and "A New Year Carol". I think it is now illegal to release a Christmas CD with no contribution from David Willcocks and he is present and correct with his setting of "Personent Hodie". Also in Latin is "Gaudete", this time in a new arrangement by the choir's director, Sarah MacDonald, and also "Salve Regina" by Lennox Berkeley. Also adding to the atmosphere are three organ solos all played by Edward Taylor and all being arrangements of "Von Himmel Hoch" by Bach, Pachelbel and Garth Edmundson. As you can see, this is an unusual selection of rarely-heard music for upper voices for Advent, Christmas and New Year and one that I enjoyed hearing.

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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