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The contrast between Bach’s Lutheran Magnificat and Helmschrott’s Lumen (2017) – a contemporary interfaith dialogue – is extreme, as are the performance styles. In the Bach, the sound of period instruments clashes rather with the vibrato-laden soloists in an interpretation that pushes tempi at the expense of expressivity. Unfortunately, the close recording draws attention to imprecise tuning and ensemble. The same soloists seem more stylistically comfortable in Lumen, in which Jewish, Muslim and Christian texts are juxtaposed with a mission for ‘unity within diversity’. The musical language is pan-tonal with colourful orchestration, with diverse musical styles incorporated. This is an interesting oratorio.

DAVID PONSFORD Read the full review on Agora Classica


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