Andrew Clements
The Guardian
August 2013

Surely no British composer has packed more into their career over the last 50 years than Richard Rodney Bennett. From being regarded as a member of the British avant garde in the late 1950s, through his performances as a jazz pianist and accompanist, to composing operas for Sadler's Wells and Covent Garden and scores for high-profile British and American movies, Bennett has commuted effortlessly between styles. These unaccompanied choral works, immaculately presented by the BBC Singers conducted by Paul Brough, includes pieces from the last 13 years of that career. They range from Serenades (a five-movement suite on poems by John Skelton that Bennett composed for the BBC Singers in 2007) and the Four Poems ofThomas Campion (introduced at the Proms the same year) to exquisite carols such as In the Bleak Midwinter. Each shows the same craftsmanship and harmonic instincts; there's not a note out of place or a phrase that seems second-hand.