One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Quam Dilecta - French Romantic Choral Music
Track Listing below review
The Choir of Christ’s College, Cambridge/David Rowland
Roxy Summerfield (organ)
rec. 19-20 March 2011 Jesus College Chapel, Cambridge, England
Full Latin texts with English translations

Experience Classicsonline

The school of French sacred choral music is where unerring elegance and appealing melodic invention meet pious veneration. Titled Quam dilecta(How lovely) this collection of 21 small-scale Latin pieces for devotional use in the Roman Catholic liturgy certainly fits that description.
This Regent project is sung by the Choir of Christ’s College, Cambridge, founded in 1437. Now a mixed student choir on this recording they number 10 sopranos, 7 altos, 5 tenors and 7 basses. This is their typical size.
In accordance with the liturgical trend of the time many of the scores are written in veneration of the Virgin Mary. It is surprising how many connections there are between the four French composers Camille Saint-Saëns, Vincent d’Indy, Gabriel Fauré and Déodat de Sévérac; all were Paris-based for varying lengths of time.
Saint-Saëns and Fauré are undoubtedly the best known of the four. A prolific composer Saint-Saëns was very active in the field of sacred works. Of his larger scale sacred choral works the most noteworthy are the Messe Solennelle for four solo voices, chorus, orchestra and organ, op. 4 (1855/56), the Oratorio de Noël for soloists, chorus, quartet of strings, harp and organ, op. 12 (1858) and the Requiem Mass for soloists, chorus and orchestra, op. 54 (1878).The latter is an especially underrated work that deserves to be heard far more often. There is also the Psalm 18,Coeli enarrant for soloists, chorus and orchestra, op. 42 (1865) and the Psalm 150, Praise ye the Lord for double-chorus of mixed voices, orchestra and organ, op. 127 (c. 1908) - works I have yet to hear. Saint-Saëns wrote duplicate settings of several smaller sacred works such as the O salutaris, Ave maria, Veni Creator and Tangum ergo. On this release Saint-Saëns is represented by five of the smaller settings of which the pick is Quam dilecta for choir and organ, op. 148 (1915). This is a tender and affecting motet with a sensitively written and atmospheric organ part. Incidentally Saint-Saëns himself was an organist of great repute having been organist for twenty years at L'église de la Madeleine, Paris. The haunting Ave Maria for choir and organ, op. 145 (1914) is beautiful in its devotion to the Virgin Mary. For unaccompanied choir, the neo-Renaissance Ave verum corpus in E flat major has a stark beauty. I also greatly enjoyed the enchanting Ave verum corpus,a D major setting for female choir and organ.
A pupil of Saint-Saëns, Gabriel Fauré followed his teacher’s lead and wrote a considerable number of sacred choral scores. The most famous of these by far is the renowned Messe de Requiem, op. 48 (1887-1900) one the most performed and recorded sacred scores. Also occasionally encountered is the Cantique de Jean Racine, op. 11 (1863-65) and the Messe Basse (1888-1907). Fauré is represented by settings on this release. I especially enjoyed the O salutaris hostia, op. 47/1 sung with yearning reverence by the soprano chorus with organ accompaniment. There’s also a highly attractive short Maria, Mater gratiae, op. 47/2 (1888) movingly delivered by soprano Marie Lemaire and alto Hetty Boardman-Weston with organ accompaniment. The women’s choir with organ piece, Ave verum corpus, op. 65/1 (1894) is a gracious devotion to the Virgin Mary. It’s rather an anonymous and unmemorable piece. By contrast the Tantum ergo, op. 65/2 (1894) scored for two sopranos and an alto with organ sung by Rachel Thomas, Carys Brown and Hetty Boardman-Weston is well worth hearing. I was also mightily impressed by the two pieces for solo soprano with organ (1894-95): the Salve Regina, op. 67/1 and the Ave Maria, op. 67/2 which Rachel Thomas sings with an exquisitely chaste tone.
Allowing for the distinguished Chandos orchestral series Vincent d’Indy’s wonderful Romantic music is rarely encountered today. An associate of Saint-Saëns, d’Indy was founder member and director of the Schola Cantorum de Paris, an organisation that nurtured a revival of interest in Gregorian chant and music of the Italian Renaissance in the style of Palestrina. D’Indy is represented here by four motets. Of particular note is the Ave Regina coelorum with its chromatic part-writing for unaccompanied voices, op. 79 (1922). It is given an intensely satisfying performance. The Deus Israel conjungat vos for 4/6 parts, op. 41 (1896) is a substantial score at over 6 minutes and is cast in two sections. The complex writing is well served by the assured soloists.

Déodat de Sévérac studied under d’Indy and Magnard in Paris at the Schola Cantorum. Only a small number of Sévérac’s sacred choral works have survived and four of them appear here. I especially enjoyed the lightly chromatic motet Ave verum corpus (1898) for two soprano soloists with organ. This is sung with radiant devotional expression by Amy Puttick and Carys Brown. Written in a relatively simple style I found the late motet Tantum ergo (1920) for unaccompanied choir spiritually comforting throughout.
Clearly relishing this programme the choir, scrupulously prepared under the direction of Professor David Rowland is in inspiring voice. Their impressive vocal sonority, reverence and unity produce cascades of attractive sound. All of this is coupled with pin-point precision. Organist Roxy Summerfield, a Cambridge University graduate, plays with real credit throughout. The recording was made in March 2011 a short distance from their own chapel at Jesus College which I am informed is a much quieter location. Crystal clear and well balanced sound can be enjoyed in this satisfying church acoustic. In all respects this Regent release is nothing short of stunning.
Michael Cookson

Track Listing

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Quam dilecta, op. 148 (1915) [4:43]
Ave Maria, op. 145 (1914) [3:30]
Ave verum corpus [4:57)
Offertoire (1904) [4:47]
Ave verum corpus [5:52]
Déodat De SÉVÉRAC (1872-1921)
O sacrum convivial [4:00]
Ave verum corpus (1898) [2:57]
Tantum ergo (1920) (2:33]
Salve Regina [2:53]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Tantum ergo (1904) [2:12]
Tantum ergo, op. 65/2 (1894) [2:54]
O salutaris hostia, op. 47/1 [2:52]
Ave Maria, op. 67/2 (1894-95) [2:17]
Salve Regina, op. 67/1 (1894-95) [2:40]
Maria, Mater gratiae, op. 47/2 (1888) [2:13]
Ecce fidelis servus, op. 54 [1:37]
Ave verum corpus, op. 65/1 (1894) [3:14]
Vincent d’INDY (1851-1931)
Ave Regina coelorum, op. 79 (1922) [2:09]
O Domina mea, op. 88 [3:00]
Sancta Maria, succurre miseris, op. 49 [1:39]
Deus Israel conjungat vos, op. 41 (1896) [6:08]

































































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.