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Eclecticism for its own sake is usually dull. Done as effectively as this, it is exhilarating. The surprise is Eliza Gilkyson’s unmournful Requiem, which is perfectly positioned for the Vanderbilt Chorale’s fresh and unmannered voices. Tucker Biddlecombe, a newcomer to Navona, builds a wonderful programme around it. Michael Slayton’s Three Settings of Ezra Pound is a reminder that the old fascist, mad and bad as he was, had the finest ear of any early 20th-century poet. It turns out that e.e.cummings is not so far behind: Eric Whitacre’s Three Songs of Faith offer a new perspective on the lower-case poet. Nothing lower-case about the singing, which is bold and bright and full of hope. If a selection of Ravel seems a bit tokenistic, the impression’s false. It works perfectly here. A delight from start to finish.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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