Works by Dove, Jackson, Blackford, MacMillan, Todd & Swingle

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Blackford,Jackson,Macmillan,Todd & Swingle,Works by Dove
LABELS: Signum
ALBUM TITLE: Anthems for the 21st Century
WORKS: Angel Song II; Hear my crying O Lord
PERFORMER: Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse; Jeremy Filsell (organ)
A bold project, this – 12 world premiere recordings, nine of them commissions to mark the Vasari Singers’ 25th anniversary. Some bold music too – Will Todd’s wordless Angel Song II, for instance, where a soothing melody intones over weirdly rippling aleatoric incantations. James MacMillan’s Chosen, adding to his increasingly compelling body of choral compositions, makes striking use of unison and harmony contrasts, and has a searingly placed climax. Eight-part writing is deployed in Humphrey Clucas’s Hear my crying, O God, though here there is a feeling that the piece has sharper dramatic contours than are realised in Vasari’s interpretation, where the warmly blended tone is just a shade too comfortable. Similarly, Jeremy Filsell’s razor-sharp realisation of the virtuoso organ part in Jonathan Dove’s Bless the Lord, O my soul makes the choir’s reflexes seem sluggish by comparison. Some reservations, then, but one admires the pioneering spirit of the project. Terry Blain