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Track(s) taken from CDA68083

Merton College Service

composer
2013; S solo + SATB divisi; commissioned by Merton College Oxford to mark the college's 750th anniversary; first performed on 23 March 2013 by Merton College Choir and Benjamin Nicholas
author of text
Magnificat: Luke 1: 46-55; Nunc dimittis: Luke 2: 23-32

Trinity College Choir Cambridge, Stephen Layton (conductor), Hannah King (soprano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
CD-Quality:
Studio Master:
CD-Quality:
Studio Master:
Recording details: January 2014
Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: February 2015
Total duration: 6 minutes 24 seconds

Cover artwork: Autumn Moon (2013) by Scott Kahn (b1946)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Images
 

Reviews

‘The sonority is secure from top to bottom … and the recording has clarity, detail and presence … lovers of this corner of the choral repertoire will find here much to enjoy’ (Gramophone)

‘An exemplary recording … an excellent place to become familiar with Ešenvalds's attractive output’ (Choir & Organ)» More

‘What a force the Trinity choir has become … and the strength-in-depth it has developed, in the first eight years of Stephen Layton's directorship’ (BBC Music Magazine)» More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING

‘Latvian composer [Ēriks Ešenvalds's] rich, sonorous choral writing is in almost permanent ecstasy, with sopranos sailing over great waves of cluster chords, a colouristic vision … all beautifully sung’ (The Guardian)

‘Much here is rarified and quite lovely, indicative of a young composer in the thralls of an abundance of talent’ (Audiophile Audition, USA)» More

‘The music is very well crafted for voices, … the writing is consistently imaginative … the Trinity College choir sings exceptionally well … they make a super sound; the balance is consistently excellent and the timbre is appealingly fresh’ (MusicWeb International)» More

‘With excellent recording and splendid notes, I can only welcome this with enthusiasm’ (MusicWeb International)» More

‘The result is a collection that in terms of imagination and aural allure is beyond anything I have heard since the halcyon age of the young Benjamin Britten … full of small gems’ (The Oldie)» More

‘Trinity College Choir Cambridge under the direction of Stephen Layton give superlative performances of varied and engaging choral works by the Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds. Contemporary music making at its best’ (The Northern Echo)

‘A composer with a deep love and respect for music … Layton's flowing phrasing and the choir's effortless a capella delivery, embellished here and there by beautiful solo voices … reinforce the beauty inherent to the music’ (Classical Music Sentinel)» More

‘Conductor Stephen Layton, along with the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, should be commended not just for this excellent performance, but also for raising the profile of [Ēriks Ešenvalds], whose ability to write music that deeply affects listeners not just in Latvia, all over the world is a rare talent’ (The Baltics Today, Latvia)» More

‘Stephen Layton draws extraordinary and urgent performances from his young singers—finding both the power … and delicacy … performances [are] charged with real emotional intent. The result is arresting in its intensity’ (Sinfini Music)» More

The Merton College Service (Magnificat and Nunc dimittis), from 2013, was commissioned by the college for The Merton Choirbook—an extensive collection of new works to celebrate the college’s 750th anniversary. The work is unusual for a modern setting, being both unaccompanied and in Latin. It is also entirely syllabic and homophonic, and has perhaps something of the Tudor Short Service about it in its simplicity and gentle austerity. In contrast to the chanted declamation of the canticles themselves, the Glorias find a solo voice (whether soprano or alto is unspecified in the score) underpinned by lush sustained chords, before a briefly refulgent Amen resolves onto an ‘ancient’ bare fifth.

from notes by Gabriel Jackson © 2015

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