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A magnificent addition to the Christ Church Cathedral Choir’s already outstanding Eton Choirbook series. With the tiniest of reservations that at times the otherwise immaculate trebles lack clearly defined vowel colour, this is singing of the richest splendour. The choir contains a quota of professional singers and (without denigrating the undergraduate membership) this is maybe the key to that richness, especially in the lower voices who supply such a rock-like foundation to the sound.

The acoustic (Merton College Chapel in Oxford) could hardly be more appropriate for the soaring lines, offering heavenly resonance but with no muddying of texture. (Let praise nonetheless be offered to sound engineer Simon Fox-Gál.) This is music which can never be forced and Stephen Darlington paces things to perfection, allowing everything to breathe in the most natural way.

Just five pieces (all in praise of the Virgin Mary) are featured, by a mix of familiar and lesser-known names active in the late 15th/early 16th centuries – John Hampton, Edmund Turges, John Fawkyner, John Browne and Robert Wylkynson. The works are ordered so as to provide an especially appealing start (the outstanding Salve regina by Hampton, one-time master of the Lady Chapel choir at Worcester Cathedral) and a truly ravishing ‘closer’ in the Etonian Wylkynson’s own Salve regina, which takes the breath away. So ... where does the series go from here? There’ll be a long queue of us waiting to find out.

Andrew Green Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing