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Following much-praised recordings of Bach’s St John Passion and Christmas Oratorio, Stephen Layton has now turned to the B minor Mass. Using his mixed voice choir from Trinity College Cambridge and the OAE, Layton has honed his interpretation through many concert performances, and the results are clear-headed, direct and always highly musical. Tempi are free of eccentricity; his youthful choral forces are beautifully focused, incisive in attack, and understand the importance of phrasing in this music. They are evidently relishing every note as they discover Bach’s supreme masterpiece under Layton’s expert guidance. The soloists are uniformly excellent, with Iestyn Davies truly exceptional in his two solo contributions, the Qui sedes and Agnus Dei. First-rate playing from the OAE, too. A B minor Mass to treasure.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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