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Desenclos’s centenary in 2012 passed without much notice outside France and with little excitement in his homeland. His brand of romanticism is perhaps unfashionable now. Wisely, David Trendell doesn’t dwell on the syrupy aspects of the Messe de Requiem, preferring to emphasise its roots in Gregorian chant and its eclectic modernity. The composer did, after all, just live on into the 1970s. It’s brightly, crisply sung. The Poulenc is a highly personal piece, as most of his best works are. The King’s choir lends it a wry intimacy that in no way conflicts with the composer’s grief (at the loss of a friend) or his rapprochement with the Church. In fact, few performances have better conveyed the work’s combination of secular and mystical elements. The Villette piece is another attractive rarity, by no means here simply a filler. A delightful set from the blue-chip choral label of the day.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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