Bob CHILCOTT (b. 1955)
Oculi Omnium [2:23]
Even such is time (1993) [11:02]
High Flight (2008)* [5:48]
A Thanksgiving (2008)* [3:32]
Morten LAURIDSEN (b. 1943)
O Nata Lux (1997) [4:12]
O Magnum Mysterium (1994)** [6:33]
Eric WHITACRE (b. 1970)
Lux Aurumque (2000) [3:42]
Cloudburst (1992)** [7:48]
This Marriage (2004) [2:45]
Alone (2011) [3:32]
The Stolen Child* (2007) [8:50]
The King’s Singers; The Concordia Choir/René Clausen
rec. St. Mary’s Church, Harrow, UK, 13-17 May 2011; St. Joseph’s Church, Moorhead, MN, USA, 10 May 2010*, 2003** DDD
Texts and English translations included
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD262 [60:10]
I must confess I have had this CD to review for quite some time and have found it difficult to make up my mind about it. John Quinn reviewed it earlier for this website and so I also refer you to his more detailed review. Certainly the performances are all one would expect of the King’s Singers, and the Concordia Choir provides a nice contrast. I would suggest, however, that you should not listen to the whole CD all the way through, as there is a certain sameness in the music. Everything is basically tonal, with all three composers using close harmony in their works. As one would expect, Bob Chilcott writes idiomatically for the King’s Singers, having been a longtime member of that group (1985-97). I find his compositions here generally the most attractive, from the simple, but beautiful Oculi Omnium - whose composition date is not listed anywhere as far as I could tell - to the more complex and rhythmically interesting Even such is time and High Flight, The latter was composed for the King’s Singers and SATB choir. The Concordia Choir, one of the best known of U.S. college choirs, has a wonderful blend of voices and their diction is also exemplary for a large choral group. They do full justice to Lauridsen’s most popular piece, O Magnum Mysterium, even if it really didn’t need another recording.
Three of the works on this CD are world premiere recordings: Whitacre’s Alone, composed for the King’s Singers as a prelude to The Stolen Child, and Chilcott’s A Thanksgiving as well as High Flight. Eric Whitacre has quickly become one of America’s most popular choral composers and this disc gives a good sampling of his choral output. Lux Aurumque is undoubtedly his best known work and justifiably so in its deceptively simple chording and close harmony. However, The Stolen Child, written for the King’s Singers and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, is a more complex work and leaves a deeper impression. The earliest of his works here, Cloudburst, on the other hand, sounds rather hokey with all its sound effects. The disc concludes with Chilcott’s A Thanksgiving and well demonstrates with its wonderful blend of voices the rapport the King’s Singers and Concordia Choir obviously had in making this recording. The music here is rather typical of what’s being composed these days for college and for the more accomplished church choirs. It is harmonically conservative, yet maintains enough interest for singers even if it is best taken in small doses by the listener.
The CD contains a rather thick booklet, which along with the texts, has comments by each of the composers and photographs of the performers. I should point out one editorial error that could irritate Minnesotans: the production details list the recording location as in Moorhead, MS (which stands for Mississippi) rather than MN (Minnesota)!
see also review by John Quinn
The choral music here is well performed but is best taken in small doses.