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This is like stumbling across a cobwebbed book full of previously unseen pictures of the Nativity and other Gospel moments. As a project it is unparalleled, and as a recording, hard to fault. With little or no performance history for many of these early spiritual songs, we have no points of comparison, but the Utopia Chamber Choir does a magnificent job of presenting things like ‘Zachæus arboris ascendit’, ‘Congaudeat turba fidelium’ and ‘Tempus adest floridum’ with beautiful intonation, and also a simplicity which suggests they are also delivering news – precisely what the Gospels are. A tiny instrumental, played by Andrew Lawrence-King on harp, divides the set perfectly in two.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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