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This collection of first recordings of choral music by Gregory Rose coincides with his 70th birthday year. Written across the decades, the pieces provide an overview of the composer’s work. Starting in the late 1960s, when his amplified vocal ensemble Singcircle were early leaders of experimental choral music and influenced by the contemporary European avant-garde, Rose’s music is not for the faint-hearted. The vibrant Latvian Radio Choir, undaunted by the technical challenges confronting them, gives penetrating interpretations. The programme includes a contrasted set of Evening Canticles, a Missa Sancti Dunstani, a Stabat Mater full of anguished dissonance enhanced by tubular bells, Fragments for Four where the choir is instructed to ‘fill the time space over a period of several minutes with random entries and durations’, and four arrangements. The one that really works for me is a lovely, straightforward, unaccompanied setting of Scarborough Fair.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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