Album Review

Posted: Sunday 10th August 1997
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Songs of Farewell – Classic CD

The Vasari Singers already have an excellent recording of Herbert Howells’s Requiem in the catalogue, and the performance of Vaughan Williams’s Mass in G minor which opens this new disc will undoubtedly enhance their reputation as one of Britain’s finest chamber choirs.

Jeremy Backhouse’s interpretation of the Mass is notably restrained and rarified in style, with much concentration on the devotional aspects of the work, and not a whiff of cheap concert hall theatrics in the air. That is not to say that it is dull. Far from it: there is much quietly beautiful and very musicianly singing here, and I was particularly impressed by the choir’s ability to sustain both warmth and focus in their tone when singing at the lowest dynamic levels, always so much more difficult than when volume output is high.

The Bridge and Parry items are less distinguished musically, but are just as well performed, although in the Bridge the organ struck me as a little dominantly balanced in relation to the choir. The VW performance, however, is definitely a “must hear”.

Terry Blain
Classic CD