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Regarded in some quarters as the leading American composer of sacred music in the last century, Leo Sowerby (1895-1968) was a professional church musician in his native United States. These two well-filled CDs from Gloriæ Dei Cantores celebrate his art. With anthems, organ pieces and his Festival Musick for brass and organ, these CDs will give anyone a fair picture of Sowerby’s achievements. He had a distinct flair for word-setting that was a natural response to the text’s possibilities, and the four organ pieces included here demonstrate just how attuned he was to the possibilities of the instrument’s colour and texture. Gloriæ Dei Cantores sing Sowerby’s music with great conviction, even when the material is occasionally not of the front rank. While some of the singing in the solo vocal works is disappointingly ordinary, the choir’s contributions more than make up for this.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica


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