Songs of Farewell – BBC Music Magazine
The two best performances on CD both date from the more recent past and both come from London-based, mixed-voice choirs – so much for the spiritual home of this piece being within the liturgy. Actually, that is a little unfair since the individual members of the Corydon Singers and the Vasari Singers have all had experience of working within Christian liturgies at some stage during their lives…
However, the performance by the Vasari Singers is distinguished by its exciting climaxes and its careful shaping throughout. With this recording conductor Jeremy Backhouse has arrived at a persuasive interpretation of the Mass – a piece whose technical difficulty so often overshadows any chance to mould the piece into a convincing whole. The Vasari Singers bring Vaughan Williams’s Mass to life while also leaving its delicately archaic style intact. That, it seems to me, is the secret of this masterpiece.
BBC Music Magazine