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This themed disc explores the centuries-old musical devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in 14 short pieces ranging from the Tudor polyphony of Nicholas Ludford’s Ave cujus conception to contemporary works by figures such Ola Gjeilo, Judith Bingham and Cecilia McDowall, as well obvious candidates like Bruckner’s Ave Maria and Britten, though not his Hymn to the Virgin but rather the far less known ‘Rosa Mystica’from A.M.D.G. of 1939. Paul Spicer has instilled in his Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir excellent diction, evenness of tone and a bright but unforced sound, which is a pleasure to listen to. The programme is thoughtfully arranged, though there was surely room for perhaps one or two more settings on the disc. But that’s a small issue when what we have is so well sung.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica


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