Gabrieli Consort, Paul McCreesh - A Rose Magnificat

Published Friday 4th May 2018
Gabrieli Consort, Paul McCreesh - A Rose Magnificat
Gabrieli Consort, Paul McCreesh - A Rose Magnificat

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Signum Classics SIGCD535

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This collection is outstanding on every count: it is well presented which is always a good start but more importantly the compositions are all worth hearing and, best of all, the singing is superb. Paul McCreesh's Gabrieli Consort have delivered excellent music since 1982 and here give us a vocal recital that is a master class in a cappella singing, recoded in the splendid acoustic at Romney Abbey and ably captured by producer Adrian Peacock. The selected compositions explore the diverse and extensive body of works dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary over the centuries from Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585) to the present day. Thus there is some repetition: we have, for example, three versions of the Vesper Hymn "Ave Maria Stella" by James MacMillan (born 1959), John Sheppard (c. 1515-1558) and Owain Park (born 1993) plus two looks at "Salve Regina", the first an antiphon with tropes by Robert Wylkynson (c. 1450-1515) and the second without by Herbert Howells (1892-1983): the same yet different and while the chosen material will be of great interest to scholars and choir directors the performances will bring pleasure to any listener who appreciates excellence in choral singing. The concluding title piece, "A Rose Magnificat", is a new work by a young British composer Matthew Martin (born 1976) that takes the familiar text of the Magnificat and interpolates verses from the medieval poem There Is No Rose which is also set by Jonathan Lane (born 1958) and which again gives us an opportunity to compare and contrast but, most importantly, enjoy good music well sung.

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