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The past and the present move hand-in-hand in this well-devised programme. Gabriel Jackson’s setting of the Stabat Mater is startling in its concept. The declamatory opening starkly sets the horrifying scene, but the mother’s grief, which is beautifully expressed, is paramount. The work is set alongside Palestrina’s setting of the same text, the clarity of which is a model of early polyphonic writing. The same can be said of the two settings of the Miserere: this version of the Allegri has the controversial top C, but regardless of who wrote it, it sends a shiver down the spine. James MacMillan’s passionate interpretation is very much of the 21st century, although deeply rooted in the past: with this composer you get the best of both worlds. The Marian Consort is an exceptional group. Here you can savour beautiful vocal lines that are given wonderfully controlled, electrifying performances.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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