Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
Before we applaud the music on this splendid new release we want to salute a new vocal group and get our praise in now, so we can say you heard about it here first. The Platinum Consort is a vocal octet directed by Scott Inglis-Kidger. The consort specialises in early music as well as newly commissioned pieces from the same traditions. The consort originated at the University of Cambridge with singers taken from several of the leading college choirs. Platinum also runs a boys choir and is involved in a variety of choral workshops and, as we said above, we expect to hear much more from the Platinum Consort. On this release, available in a variety of digital formats, we explore the events of Holy Week through the works of Lassus, Victoria, Gesualdo, Anerio, Purcell, James MacMillan and the group's composer-in-residence, Richard Bates. The Tenebrae tradition stretches back as far as the church's liturgy, and the name of this specific ritual office refers to a number of services that occur in the last three days of Holy Week (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday). This period - the culmination of Passiontide and the season of Lent - exists as a vital event in the Christian church's year, and for many centuries the strong emotional significance of this liturgy has provoked and inspired some of the most potent and poignant choral music in the western world. The examples included here take us back to Orlande de Lassus (1532-1594) and on to the 21st century with the featured composer Richard Bates (born 1984). Everything sits together very well indeed and it is difficult to pick out any specific highlights. However, if we have to, we think Purcell's "Hear My Prayer" and Macmillan's "Miserere" stand out and it is to the credit of Richard Bates that his contributions are not at all overshadowed. So, to conclude, this is strongly recommended to all with an interest in any of early music. Modern responses to it, and contemporary choral singing.
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