Bob Chilcott: Everyone Sang

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bob Chilcott
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: Bob Chilcott: Everyone Sang
WORKS: Everyone Sang; Little Jazz Mass; The Isle is Full of Noises; plus other choral works
PERFORMER: Gemma Beeson (piano); Will Todd Trio; Wellensian Consort/Christopher Finch
CATALOGUE NO: 8573158

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As an ex-singer himself (in both King’s College Choir and the King’s Singers), Bob Chilcott knows what works vocally. You can hear this particularly in A Little Jazz Mass, where he perfectly fits the words of the Latin text to the whippy, upbeat syncopations of the Kyrie and Gloria. The Agnus Dei is, at four minutes, the longest movement. Here a bluesy flavour is added, befitting the subject matter. The work could have easily been kitschily condescending but actually works excellently.

So, too, do Aesop’s Fables, five settings with piano accompaniment. The variations of phrase length and dynamics in ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’ cleverly mimic events in the story of how the two raced each other. It sounds fun to sing and is certainly fun to listen to. Chilcott’s more reflective side surfaces in the broody ‘The Fox and the Grapes’, and in the concluding ‘The Goose and the Swan’, where he pays homage to Schubert by referencing his song Du bist die Ruh in the shaping of the melody. All the shorter pieces are immediately attractive, and performed winningly.

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Terry Blain