James Dunlop, Portsmouth Cathedral Choir - Ascension

Published Thursday 14th April 2016
James Dunlop, Portsmouth Cathedral Choir - Ascension
James Dunlop, Portsmouth Cathedral Choir - Ascension

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 159593-23562
LABEL: Riverwood Air

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

James Dunlop is an exciting new composer - or at least new to this listener although his work has been used extensively on television and radio so perhaps I have heard it without knowing who wrote it. As well as composing Dunlop is currently a musician in The Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth, The Royal Band, and has performed to more than 100 million viewers live on TV and to audiences in excess of 80,000 at concerts and events across the globe. The 'Ascension' album is an independent collaboration between the composer and the Portsmouth Cathedral Choir conducted by David Price. It features 12 tracks of new choral music, several of which are linked to the theme of the Ascension of Jesus that can be sequenced together to make an interesting mini oratorio although on the CD they are spread across the programme with a varied and enjoyable selection of Dunlop's other choral compositions. One that caught my ear is "Westminster Quarters" based on the chimes of Big Ben and then, for something completely different, we visit Hunting Hall near Lindesfarne for a two movement suite featuring Northumbrian smallpipe performer Alice Burn, finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards, as a soloist with the choir. It should not work but it does and if you can sit through this without smiling and tapping your feet then I am sorry for you. Dunlop is a gifted composer working in a style not unlike John Rutter or Karl Jenkins in being contemporary without being difficult and more likely to feature on Classic FM than Radio 3, if you know what I mean. As a listener I thoroughly enjoyed everything on this release and as a member of a choir I would be delighted to attempt singing most of them.

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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