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Cor Cantiamo is an American chamber choir intent on promoting contemporary choral music and nurturing composers to write for the genre. To judge by this disc, they are doing a fine job. Founder Eric A. Johnson leads a varied selection of unaccompanied pieces in which the contemporary (Maniano, Bryars, Ešenvalds, Grigorjeva, Kellogg) are juxtaposed with the ancient (Sweelinck, Palestrina) and the traditional (arrangements of spirituals). The 26 singers make a wonderful sound throughout this wide-ranging programme. A personal favourite track is Bryars’s Psalm 141, one of several works the choir commissioned: it is a marvellous evocation of the text, beginning ‘Lord, I cry unto thee’, and it’s good to be reminded of this maverick British composer’s work, too little heard in the UK. My one disappointment: the CD ended too soon!

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica


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