Peter Graham Woolf
Musical Pointers
June 2010

Received unsolicited and gratefully, this is a great album.

The Langlais is a major work, with plainsong roots but spiced with colourful dissonance and supported by a powerful organ part.

Each of the shorter works is carefully chosen and placed in the sequence, with one movement of Livre du Saint Sacrament as an organ interlude (I prefer those pieces singly rather than hearing the whole of any of Messiaen's massive organ collections straight through!). It ends, quite brilliantly, with the strangely under-rated and under-played 12-minutes Pastorale of Roger-Ducasse, actually a demanding solo, calm only for the start and finish, virtuosic in the middle.

The choir of privileged young men of Eton (the sixteen treble choristers include a Booth-Clibborn, Mackworth-Young and Suchett-Kaye, to name just a few) sing with real passion under Ralph Allwood, and Leo Popplewell is a marvellously poised and secure treble soloist in the Roger-Ducasse motet. The production is first class, with full informative notes, all the sung texts and several illustrations. Eton College Chapel lends its acoustic to a quite exceptional choir/organ disc, which will give pleasure also to people who may not be regular choral music collectors.