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Lydia KAKABADSE (b. 1955)
Cantica Sacra
Graham Ross (conductor)
Grace Durham (mezzo-soprano)
Alumni of the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge
Instrumental Ensemble
rec. Church of St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Central Square, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, 17th – 18th September, 2015
DIVINE ART DDA25135 [69.07]

This is an instantly enjoyable CD which will give much pleasure – it makes ideal late-might listening.

Lydia Kakabadse writes in a spirit obviously based on both the serenities of Gregorian chant and Orthodox music. Texts are generally in Latin, though the Pater Noster blends both Greek and Latin versions.

Kabadse was born in Southport, daughter of a Russian/Georgian father and Greek/Austrian mother, and the influence of these origins is immediately evident. Add to this a mastery of counterpoint and a richness of ideas, and there is a distinctive voice.

The Spectre of a Maiden Scorned is something of an oddity. Subtitled ‘Concert Requiem’, it uses texts from the Latin Requiem (sometimes cut, and much rearranged) to tell the tale of a suicidal maiden who feels betrayed by a young monk. The final piece is in English, a text by Martha Lavinia Hoffman from a poem The Maiden’s lament to her false lover. I found myself rather ignoring the story and concentrating just on the beauties of the music. This concert work is accompanied by a small ensemble (flute, cor anglais, violin, viola, cello, double bass and percussion – one of each). Grace Durham has a lovely voice, sometimes with a boyish simplicity, admirably suited to both text and idiom.

All the other pieces are a capella. The six voices of the Clare College Alumni blend very well, with clear diction, very much in the English choral tradition. It is a bonus that this CD provides full texts for all works. Although the Latin pieces are generally familiar, there are substantial textual cuts in one or two, including the De Profundis, Te Deum, and the doxology used in services is omitted from the Magnificat, though the text is complete. Every piece has a devotional quality, but nothing lingers: the spirit of movement characteristic of Gregorian chant is evident.

I look forward to hearing more from this very gifted and accessible composer.

Michael Wilkinson 

Disc contents
Spectre of a Maiden Scorned: Concert Requiem Mass [24.04]
Solemnity [3.35]
Rites of Passage [2.59]
The Maiden’s Ire [4.08]
Foreboding [5.03]
Monks’ Entreaty [4.06]
The Maiden’s Lament [4.11]
Cantica Sacra: Liturgical Song Cycle [16.10]
Pater Noster [2.49]
Panis Angelicus [2.14]
De Profundis [2.25]
Angelus [2.44]
Agnus Dei [2.27]
Te Deum [3.28]
Kontakia: Lenten Hymns [15.24]
Those who shall be rewarded [2.33]
A shimmering vision [3.09]
Those who shall be protected [2.28]
The devil’s torment [3.22]
Six days before Easter [3.50]
Theotakia: Marian Hymns [13.09]
Salve Regina [4.26]
Ave Maria [1.09]
Magnificat [2.54]
O Sanctissima [2.06]
O Magnum Mysterium [2.32]

 

 



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