Songs of Springtime – reviewed by Music Web International

A few choice excerpts taken from a (much!) longer review available on Musicweb-International, by Nick Barnard.

“This is a thoroughly charming CD. Recitals such as this tend to be unique by the composition of the programme rather the content itself. So it proves here. All of the repertoire is well known and easily available on a mixture of other CDs. Yet for sheer quality of execution and musicianship this new disc must be considered the equal of most.”

“…beautifully blended and refined tone allied to a sensitive awareness of the text.”

“Moeran’s Songs of Springtime open the disc and gives it its title. This seven-song cycle is Moeran’s tribute to the Elizabethan madrigalists. The texts are all taken from that time, yet set with just enough bittersweet harmony to show its 20th century roots. They are an acknowledged masterpiece in the genre and receive an excellent performance here. As mentioned the choir are fully sensitive to the nuances of the music and text but this never tips over into an overly-arch or knowing manner. I would count this the most satisfactory of the three versions I know.”

“Robert Pearsall’s Lay a Garland from 1840 pays a debt of musical gratitude to Renaissance Italian music rather than the English Madrigal tradition. This is an absolute gem and is performed with some brilliance by the choir. I like very much the way they mould their collective tone to suit this markedly different style – it’s an altogether more austere yet sensuous. Again the carefully balanced and blended choral sound pays major dividends. My only sorrow is that it lasts less than three minutes! John Bennet’s All Creatures Now is his well-known contribution to Thomas Morley’s Triumphs of Oriana. It provides the listener with a reference point from which most of the rest of the programme sprang.

“Overall a most enjoyable set of performances of beautiful music.”