Margaret Rizza, Convivium Singers - Officium Divinum: A Journey Through The Daily Office Prayers Of Morning, Midday, Evening And Night

Published Friday 21st July 2017
Margaret Rizza, Convivium Singers - Officium Divinum: A Journey Through The Daily Office Prayers Of Morning, Midday, Evening And Night
Margaret Rizza, Convivium Singers - Officium Divinum: A Journey Through The Daily Office Prayers Of Morning, Midday, Evening And Night

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 164254-25026
LABEL: Convivium
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Margaret Rizza is one and the same person as the celebrated mezzo soprano Margaret Lensky who appeared at many prestigious events over a 25 year career. From 1977 to 1994 she taught singing at the Guildhall School Of Music And Drama during which time she started to look for opportunities to take music out of the concert hall and into communities. She began composing contemplative choral music in 1997 and her arrangements of Taize chants were very popular and indeed echoes of Taize can be heard in the 'Officium Divinum' collection. There are 16 pieces on the CD (also available as a download), four choral pieces with organ, two a cappella, and 10 for choir with organ and other instruments. The cycle takes us through the day with four blocks of four: Morning Prayer, Midday Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer. The texts are English from a variety of sources with the words printed in the CD booklet. At Midday we hear George Herbert's paraphrase of the Twenty-third Psalm, and throughout the collection we have appropriate Collects from Common Worship. David Adam has two contributions, both from 'Edge Of Glory': 'The Real Presence' from Midday and the concluding 'Night Prayers'. The project was commissioned by the Royal School Of Church Music and we hope that these new compositions will come to be used by many church choirs and worship groups. The touch of Taize has been mentioned and another comparison would be with the work of John Rutter. By this I mean the music is strong on melody with care being taken to ensure that the words and music fit together. Rutter is both singable and listenable and, in the appropriate context, brings joy to many worshippers. The Convivium Singers under Eamonn Dougan are in excellent voice and the various combinations of accompanying instruments, headed by organist David Price, add to our enjoyment. Any listeners with an involvement in sacred choral singing will find much in this collection to appreciate and hopefully to incorporate into their repertoire. And those who do not sing but still like to listen will also find this album brings them a great deal of pleasure.

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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