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Burying James MacMillan’s Durham Mass in the middle of a mixed programme of choral favourites and relative rarities was an odd decision. It’s a work that needs space of its own, and the con- text of the Scottish composer’s other sacred works; but as a first recording this offers a good account of a work that combines simplicity and complexity, the human realm and the divine in a fascinating and non-obvious way. The unaccompanied eight-part writing is confidently handled by the choir which gave the first performance in February 2011. It gains nothing from being followed by works by Darke, Allain, Simper, Franck’s Panis angelicus, and Parry’s My soul, there is a country. All the Mass needs by way of sequel is contemplative silence.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Choir & Organ, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing