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Sacred Choral Music Naxos 8.572465

Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams

Lyricists: Bible - Old Testament, John Bunyan, Myles Coverdale, Mass
Text, John Milton

Conductor: Timothy Brown

Choir: Clare College Choir; Cambridge

Artists: Ashok Gupta, James McVinnie

Ralph Vaughan Williams's sublime Mass in G minor reveals the
composer's ab­sorbi­ng interest in using the modal harmonic language and
contrapuntal textures of the English late Renaissance to achieve a huge
emotional and dynamic range. Undoubtedly the most technically demanding work on
this disc is A Vision of Aeroplanes, a virtuosic motet for mixed chorus and
organ. Several neglected works also feature here, including The Voice out of the
Whirlwind, an anthem for mixed chorus and orchestra or organ, and
Valiant-for-truth, one of several works based on Bunyan's Christian allegory
The Pilgrim's Progress.

Sacred Choral Music Review

These are very well sung, very faithfully interpreted performances of
eight sacred choral works by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Under the direction of
Timothy Brown, the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, sings with energy,
enthusiasm, and even occasional excitement, and its diction and articulation are
excellent. Despite these virtues, however, this Naxos disc is largely
disappointing. For one thing, the choir sounds like it numbers in the hundreds.
This may be the reality of the situation or it may be the recording, but
whatever the cause, the result is that the textures are thick, the harmonies
turgid, and the overall sound far too heavy for the music.

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