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Recorded in Portsmouth Cathedral, this disc presents a dozen tracks by the young British composer James Dunlop, who, when he’s not being a composer, is a musician in the Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth. This collection of choral pieces gives a good idea of his style, tonal harmonic vocabulary and approach to word setting. One of the most unusual ideas among the pieces on this disc is his incorporation of Northumbrian small pipes, authoritatively and expressively played by Alice Burn, in two move- ments from Hunting Hall Suite: ‘Awakening’ is especially telling in its expressive folk-style, while ‘Ceilidh in the Piggery’ is full of high spirits, though the balance favours the pipes over the voices. David Price and his forces give a good account of themselves in what is a pleasing enough sequence of short pieces. Their vocal balance and blend is impressive; however, the recorded sound and resonant acous- tics of the cathedral undermine their efforts as regards diction.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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