Girls’ Choir was formed at All Saints’ Church, Northampton, in 1994. The church had had an all-male choir of Lay Clerks and Choral
Scholars for the preceding 450 years. This continues but is
now joined, for some services, and on tour, by the Girls’ Choir.
This recording was made to mark the 10th anniversary
of the choir’s foundation.
programme is taken from the works of five French composers four
of whom (Alain, Langlais, Duruflé and Fauré) were also church
organists. The fourteen-strong choir has a really beautiful
ensemble tone, with clarity of diction and expression. The overall
effect is at times wonderful, the deceptively straightforward
melody in the Langlais Sanctus, followed by the more dramatic
Benedictus present no problems for the choir, and their sensitive
interpretation of the Missa
in simplicitate is a joy to hear.
are three contrasting settings of the Ave
Maria, two by Fauré and the third by Alain. The Op. 93 of
Fauré has always been a favourite of mine, and the choir do
it full justice, with the changes in mood and emphasis well
stated. The part-singing is particularly fine, with well observed
dynamics. The Alain setting was unfamiliar to me, and is entrancing,
with the choir interpreting the composer’s music in a very moving
way, with some fine quiet passages.
had not heard anything by Caplet before, and the two works on
this disc are little gems, and perhaps an indication of what
might have been to come, had his life not been cut short as
result of the First World War.
final track is In Paradisum
from the Duruflé Requiem,
and the sleeve-notes indicate that “the girls are joined by
a specially assembled group of Oxford-based gentlemen.” Although
less than three minutes in length, this track gives some indication
of the added richness that this choir must have brought to the
musical life of their church.
Duruflé organ fugue
is powerfully played by the choir’s Director, Edward Whiting,
and the organ accompaniment of the choral works is sensitively
accomplished by Richard Pinel.
overall sound is very good, and the accompanying notes give
full words and translations.