STYLE: Choral RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 105700- LABEL: Regent REGCD340 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
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.
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