Paul Riley
BBC Music Magazine

It’s fitting that the BBC Singers should be in the driving seat for a disc celebrating almost a decade and a half of Judith Bingham’s choral music. A one-time alto in the choir, in 2004 she became its associate composer—though the disc celebrates other enduring relationships on both sides of the Atlantic. Grounded in a capacious choral tradition, Bingham swims naturally and artfully in the medium, yet she has a love of language and a nose for ferreting out inspiring texts and pushes her settings beyond mere facility coasting on effortless technique. The range is striking—nature an abiding nourishment. Irish Tenebrae marries folk material with an extended meditation on violence and forgiveness, Beneath these Alien Stars is Bingham’s response-in-miniature to 9/11,The Shepheards Calendar weaves a three seasons cycle with an arcane starting point, while Water Lilies explores, with an almost neo-expressionist density, healing and renewal. Twice revised, Irish Tenebrae is the longest, most ambitious (and arguably problematic) work on the disc, but throughout, the BBC Singers do their erstwhile colleague proud, David Hill securing performances as flexible and multi-contoured as they are expressive and spatially-aware. The recorded sound is warm and natural jus like the music itself.