Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

ILLUMINA Unaccompanied choral works by W H Harris, Rautavaara, Rachmaninov, Byrd, Hildegard of Bingen, Tallis, Rutter, Charles Wood, Whyte, Holst, Desprez, Grechaninov, Tchaikovsky, Palestrina, Ligeti.  Choir of Clare College/Timothy Brown   COLLEGIUM RECORDS COLCD 125 [76.08]
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Collegium are best known for their Rutter discs. This is Collegium's first new disc for five years and it bodes well for the future as well as representing a very attractive choral anthology in its own right.

This is a varied selection of unaccompanied choral music spanning plainchant to Ligeti and exploring the theme of light. There are 18 pieces ranging in duration from Rautavaara's 2:35 Evening Hymn to Ligeti's Lux Aeterna (10:02); the latter usually associated with the Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Rutter's Hymn to the Creator of Light is suffused with great crashing waves of light and sound - extremely attractive and memorable among many fine tracks. Holst's ethereal Nunc Dimittis reminds us that Holst was an inspired choral writer.

These are all luminous pieces, soft-toned and caressing. The recording and the deliciously sensitive singing convey a wondering spatial sense. The choir includes both male and female voices and they give the recital a chastely beguiling sensuality. Their legato is honeyed (not treacled) by the acoustic whose echo-decay is enough to add warmth without blur.

A good booklet is provided with full notes and texts (English only).

I expect this well-filled disc to do well in the choral lists. The market is a tough one but this classic collection is, deservedly, likely to burn bright, steadily and long in the catalogues.


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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