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St Giles’s excellent cathedral choir directed by Michael Harris is in fine voice for a programme of sacred music written between 1914 and 2014. Starting with Bairstow’s rousing Blessed city, heavenly Salem, the performers chart their way across the decades, taking in on the way the likes of Francis Jackson, Kenneth Leighton, and the very fine Lo! God is here! by Philip Moore,which is given a breath-taking interpretation. Sally Beamish’s rhythmic Gaudent in coelis makes a good contrast to Cecilia McDowall’s ethereal Aurea luce and there are cathedral commissions for two of the younger generation: Stuart Murray Mitchell and Chris Hutchings. The programme is rounded off nicely by Stanford, Holst and Vaughan Williams. Recorded in good acoustics, the lovely-toned 1992 Rieger organ sounds glorious in the skilful and sympathetic hands of Peter Backhouse. If I have one criticism, it is that the choir’s soprano soloists sacrifice their words for tone.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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