Jake Barlow
MusicWeb International
March 2014

The Cambridge Singers and City of London Sinfonia have the lion's share of this disc. They present amazing performances: very clear diction, tuning and a great sense of blend within the choir, as well as very expressive playing from the orchestra. One thing that this compilation album highlights is the choir's consistency over nearly twenty years. Achieving this over such a prolonged period is astounding, and certainly shows the Cambridge Singers occupying the very highest echelons of choral music practice. Thought it is a small point, I feel I should point out that on this disc, at various points, the Cambridge Singers field both female altos and countertenors. It can be a difficult task to blend altos and counter-tenors with such professionalism. As a counter-tenor myself, it is something I deal with in much of my choral singing work. Here, however, it is made to sound effortless, the alto section creating a very rich and polished sound. That's just how it should be done.

I absolutely loved 'A Choral Fanfare' and 'A Choral Amen'. In the 'Fanfare", the sound is somewhat reminiscent of the music of James Macmillan—another astounding British composer. The choir is particularly good here, and it shows that they are very strong indeed as an a cappella ensemble in their own right. Both of these pieces gave me goose-bumps, and the contemplative and ethereal qualities of the 'Amen' were just sublime, making for an intensely emotional listening experience.

They are not the only singers on the disc. The Choristers of St. Paul's Cathedral make a brief appearance during 'The Falcon' with fine singing, and very clear diction. I would have expected nothing less from these choristers. Well done. It’s a wonderful piece, by the way, and it reminded me of Rutter's 'Gloria' in places.

If you are looking for a disc of accessible, contemporary inspirational music, you could do much worse than this. It left me feeling uplifted and raring to get to the concert I had that evening.

This disc is perfectly suited to its theme of rejoicing and reflection - the selection of pieces is brilliant. The music itself is fantastic and executed to an astounding level of musicianship. I have used this disc for reflection myself, and it works.