Geoffrey Norris
The Telegraph
February 2015

The broad span of Church seasons from Lent to Trinity, by way of Passiontide, Easter, the Ascension and Pentecost, is matched here by a catholic choice of repertoire from the sixteenth century to the twentieth.

For the most part, you will need the booklet in front of you as an aid to appreciating the words of these various anthems, but the actual singing by the Choir of Jesus College is malleable enough to accommodate the pensive refinements of William Byrd and the festive Te Deum by Benjamin Britten, the brooding Lamentation of Edward Bairstow and the lusty I saw the Lord by Stainer.

The programme strays well off the ecclesiastical beaten track to take in a brief, poignant Breathe on me, breath of God by the American composer Ned Rorem, James MacMillan’s Sedebit Dominus Rex and even an ecstatic O vos omnes by Pablo Casals, whose forays into composition have long been overlooked in favour of his reputation as a cellist.

The darkness-to-light format is familiar enough, but the sequence has been carefully thought through here and embraces sufficient variety of styles and texture—some with organ accompaniment, some without—to sustain the disc’s 75 minutes.