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At the heart of this well-chosen selection are five pairs of contrasting settings of the same text: so we hear John Tavener’s Take him, earth, for cherishing after Howells’ better-known version, James MacMillan’s Bring us, O Lord God after William Harris’, and so on. Leighton’s Drop, drop, slow tears is a concise three-minute miracle and even Tavener’s Song for Athene here sounds fresh and apt. The disc also serves as an admirable showcase for this fine ensemble, for whom the fiendish technical challenges hold no terrors. The ear soon adjusts to the slightly over-reverberant acoustic.

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