Album Review

Posted: Monday 11th July 2005
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Anthems for the 21st Century – BBC Music Magazine Proms Edition

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 wierdly 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
BBC Music Magazine Proms Edition