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Track(s) taken from CDA67740

A babe is born, Op 55

composer
commissioned by the Cardiff Polyphonic Choir in association with the Welsh Arts Council; 1971
author of text
15th century

Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens (conductor), Jonathan Vaughn (organ)
Recording details: June 2008
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: May 2009
Total duration: 3 minutes 30 seconds

Cover artwork: Lux in tenebris (1895) by Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1919)
The De Morgan Centre, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
1
A babe is born Op 55  [3'30]

Reviews

'This is one of those recordings that works its way into your spirit and enriches the soul … glorious, life-affirming and distinctive choral music in superbly polished performances' (Gramophone)

'This valuable anthology of Mathias's church music … the performance is marked by a palpable understanding of text and sustained concentration … excellent notes by Roderic Dunnett help enormously to 'place' both Mathias and his music' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Mathias fanciers who already have the Christ Church Cathedral Choir or Gloriae Dei Cantores CDs can add this newcomer without significant redundancy … conductor Matthew Owens obtains a creamily blended (but not bland) sound from his 34 singers … it is nice to hear a choral group pay as much attention to meaning and characterization as it does to sound per se. Organist Jonathan Vaughn doesn't overwhelm the choristers and is given a chance to bask in his own light in the Processional and Carillon' (International Record Review)
Britten (in his Five Flower Songs, or A Ceremony of Carols) informs Mathias’s spirited carol A Babe is Born Op 55 (1971). However, the ‘thrown’ rhythms are neither Britten nor Tippett, but unmistakably Mathias; they come closer to the Continent—to Flor Peeters, or Frank Martin, contemporary composers with an allegiance to their respective medieval traditions, while maintaining largely traditional tonality.

from notes by Roderic Dunnett 2009

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