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The idea here was to create a 50th-anniversary recording that paid tribute to the history and past members of the King’s Singers, while still moving ahead creatively. It took three discs to fit all that in. Recorded as-live and sometimes with an audience, the singing is as seemingly effortless as ever, even when some of the arrangements of contemporary material (Billy Joel, KT Tunstall, U2) come across as rather effortful. Dividing multi-disc compilations thematically seems to be the current preference. It half-works here, with both ‘Spiritual’ and ‘Secular’ interpreted quite eclectically, and ‘Close Harmony’ potentially covering the whole project. Some performances are gilded rather than pure gold, but the box-set is a delight for King’s fans and a defiant statement of longevity.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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