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This well-planned CD, marking both Britten’s centenary and the 30th anniversary of the Rodolfus Choir, combines familiar choral pieces by Britten (Rejoice in the Lamb, Hymn to the Virgin, Five Flower Songs) with two works by Paul Mealor (Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal: Four Madrigals on Rose Texts, and Praise: Five Songs of Praise and Devotion, a premiere recording of a Rodolfus commission). In addition we are given Victoria’s Ecce sacerdos magnus, its plainsong source and Britten’s Prelude & Fugue on the melody. Allwood leads his fresh-voiced choir in thoroughly reliable performances throughout. The Mealor works are as appealing as anything from his pen. The writing in the Four Madrigals is especially attractive, particularly the final setting ‘A spotless rose’, while the change-ringing inspired Praise (2013), with organ and percussion accompaniment, evolves into an engaging cycle that tests the Rodolfus sopranos.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Choir & Organ, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing