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Nearing 40, Matthew Martin has established himself as one of the most gifted choral composers of his generation: this fine recording from his alma mater confirms that status. Equally, it showcases the choir and its director to brilliant effect. Most of the works on the CD are very recent; they reveal Martin’s penchant for a style that is fundamentally tonal and influenced by figures such as Britten and Stravinsky, but also Lennox Berkeley and Kenneth Leighton. Twelve short pieces are included, which include the Chester Missa brevis of 2013, a tribute to Britten in his centenary year and a work that pays homage to Britten’s own Missa brevis, as well as a superb Festival Anthem, In the Year that King Uzziah died. Hyde’s forces are well drilled, their balance, blend and intonation generally without blemish, and they always rise to the drama inherent in Martin’s idiom. It is a splendid and nicely varied sequence of pieces. A word of praise, too, for the characterful organ playing of Stephen Farr.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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