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Margaret Rizza began composing, diffidently and late, after a singing career and many years teaching at Guildhall. Her evolved ‘classical contemporary’ style lends an air of sanctified mystery, a very specific Rizza mood, to a range of textual sources. The most striking, and the most luminous performance on the set, is Mary slept from 2008, Thomas Merton’s rapt meditation on mother and unborn Christ-child joined in ‘tremendous silence’. The title piece, which challenges the Gaudete singers in a more direct way, is taken from the Benedictine John Main’s The Inner Christ, the fruit of his meditations at Ealing Abbey. Rizza’s music combines unvarnished thought with an intense physicality. It demands simplicity and great control. A faultless performance and recording.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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