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Suzi Digby has assembled a vastly experienced and skilled consort of professional singers for this first disc in her ambitious project aiming to commission and record with her new choir ORA 100 new works to complement renaissance masterpieces such as the Byrd five-part Mass featured here.

They rise magnificently to the technical and artistic challenge, delivering immaculate performances of works by Byrd and Philippe de Monte together with the first six commissions, by Roxanna Panufnik, Francis Pott, Alexander L’Estrange, Owain Park, Charlotte Bray and Roderick Williams.

The composers also respond with great imagination to the brief. Panufnik’s ethereal Kyrie features intense harmonic shifts and long lines seamlessly delivered by the singers. Pott’s sprightly and celebratory ‘Laudate Dominum’, a tribute to the late David Trendell of King’s College London, is finely crafted to develop the harmonic and rhythmic structure of Byrd’s Gloria. L’Estrange has been inspired by the historical and theological context of Byrd’s life in an extended reflection on the Credo. The pieces by Owain Park and Charlotte Bray are extraordinarily powerful, and Roderick Williams’s ‘Ave Verum Corpus Re-imagined’ is a fitting act of homage to a composer whom he first encountered as a treble chorister.

Brilliantly showcased by ORA, all the new works should be snapped up for performance by other choirs.

Clare Stevens Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2016 - ©Rhinegold Publishing