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When The Da Vinci Code came out, Dan Brown joined Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens in the ranks of god-slayers routinely anathematised by the churches. It’s a list headed, of course, but absurdly, by Charles Darwin. Here, Brown’s brother, who grew up surrounded by the same admixture of science and religious music, attempts to close the gap a little, emphasising Darwin’s awed appreciation of natural form and diversity, but without in any way attempting to sacralise the theory of natural selection. It’s remarkable that this music should be sustained by just four voices and no accompaniment; even if sometimes it teeters in the direction of barbershop effects, it is profoundly beautiful and rooted in tradition. The Mass also features in D. Brown’s novel Origin, but in what form I can’t say – he’s banned from this house.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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