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This recording from the Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge, under its former director Mark Williams, pairs two British composers active three centuries apart, in a richly satisfying programme that shows the music and the performers to great effect. The CD employs both of the college’s choirs – the mixed voices of the College Choir, and the all-male Chapel Choir. It was a clever ploy that enhances the disc’s pleasure, as the tonal sonority is regularly changing. Of the Byrd items, the eight-part Quomodo cantabimus from the College Choir is particularly fine, with well-matched vocal lines throughout. Writing for the church inspired Britten to compose some jewel-like miniatures. The Herbert setting Antiphon (1956) and Missa brevis (1959) – a favourite with the composer among his own works – are among six Britten works on the disc. All receive idiomatic readings from Williams and his forces. A disc well worth investigating.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica


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