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COMPOSERS: Lauridson
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Lauridson: Lux Aeterna
WORKS: Lux aeterna; Madrigali; Ave Maria; Ubi caritas et amor; O magnum mysterium
PERFORMER: Polyphony, Britten Sinfonia, Stephen Layton
Morton Lauridsen is a West Coast


American composer, now in his

early sixties, who has achieved a cult

status among choral singers similar

to that of John Rutter in Britain.

His Lux aeterna, for choir and

orchestra, is a setting of sacred Latin

texts of prayer and consolation, in a

conservative idiom laced with mild

dissonances that don’t so much

disturb as enhance the essentially

comfortable nature of the music.

Three unaccompanied Latin motets

are similarly euphonious and

reassuring. The unaccompanied

Madrigali are settings of Italian

Renaissance madrigal texts in an

updated madrigal idiom – though

the expressive dissonances that are

so thrilling in Monteverdi and

Gesualdo have less effect here,

where they aren’t challenging rigid

compositional rules.

Stephen Layton’s Polyphony seems

perhaps less perfectly blended than on

some previous releases, but combines

well with the excellent Britten

Sinfonia; and it all sounds beautiful

in two generous London church


acoustics. Anthony Burton