La Maitrise de Toulouse - Missa Brevis

Published Sunday 16th January 2011
La Maitrise de Toulouse - Missa Brevis
La Maitrise de Toulouse - Missa Brevis

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Regent REGCD340

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This CD is the first commercial release from La Maitrise de Toulouse, an outstanding French children's choir founded and directed by the English choral director Mark Opstad and funded by the French government so that some children can receive a "choir school" education and musical training. In a generous 71 minutes we get five Masses, three from France and two from England, and all for upper voices. The singing is excellent with fine accompaniment by the distinguished award-winning British organist William Whitehead (who, for the record, is not related to this reviewer). The acoustic of Le Temple du Salin in Toulouse suits the voices very well indeed and, yet again, producer/engineer Gary Cole has done a superb job. The three French Masses are "Messe a Trois Voix" by Andre Caplet (1878-1925), "Messe Breve" by Leo Delibes (1836-1891), and the ever-popular "Messe Basse" by Gabriel Faure (1845-1924). From our side of the Channel we get a first recording of "Missa Cornelia" by Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988) and "Missa Brevis" by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). Other than the Leighton the chances are you already have some of these settings but, trust me, the standard of performance on this new release is such that you will not mind hearing whatever you already have once again and the Leighton is well worth investigating. Playing all five straight through was perhaps too much of a good thing but when I returned to them and played one a day over five days I enjoyed them much more.

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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