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The composer might look at the cover of this beautiful recording in some bemusement, because for a long time ‘Julian Anderson’ and ‘choral music’ didn’t seem to belong on the same page. The earliest piece performed dates from 1999: O sing unto the Lord is referentially a celebration of the singing voice (much like Anderson’s remarkable four-note, one-word Sing, which unfortunately remains in the composer’s desk). There is a lovely wedding anthem, written for two singer friends, a remarkable Bell Mass and settings of four American gospel choruses. The outstanding track, though, is a setting of the opening lines of Henry Vaughan’s mystical I saw Eternity the other night. The Gonville & Caius choir has worked with this material for two years under Geoffrey Webber, performing some of the material at Evensong and in concert, to the point where it sounds like their natural language; not ‘effortless’, but not effortful, either – just very lovely and accurate singing.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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