Choral music from the sixteenth-century, right up to the late-twentieth-century features on this beautiful eleven-track album, with stunning performances from The Choir of Royal Holloway.
The Chapel Choir was established in 1886 for women’s voices & became a mixed choir in 1965. Forty-three years on and the choir have made 14 CD recordings & have toured most European countries, under the guidance of Rupert Gough, who began his musical training as a chorister at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.
"The programme is superb ... The singing is great, the sound quality perfect and the programme notes are well written and informative."
"What more can one possibly ask for? Here is a choir of 23 young singers, fresh of tone and fresh of mind, careful and accurate over their notes yet giving the impression that it all comes naturally. Collectively they have a keen feeling for rhythm. They enunciate clearly but without making a point of it. They blend perfectly, they shade sensitively, they appear to work with like mind towards an agreed ideal of choral sound.
And their programme strikes a fair balance of old and new, the familiar and unexpected. Personally, I find that too much is slow (the old formula of "quick-slow-quick" is not a bad one for programme-builders, and here the proportions are reversed). But these are the very people to commend Arvo Pärt to the opposition, and certainly his mystical, almost penitential Magnificat has an unusually thoughtful beauty about it. With the entry of the organ in the wedding anthem by Robert Walker the swimmingly tinted ecstasies of a latter-day Duruflé are delivered without overmuch indulgence. On the other hand, how good it is to be woken up from these incense-laden reveries by Stanford’s purposeful Matins freshness, in firmly committed B flat!
But no: no real quarrel with any of this. Only a mild complaint that it’s over too quickly. Forty-seven minutes is distinctly short measure: another 10 at least."
"The mixed choir of Royal Holloway College makes a truly fabulous sound under the direction of Rupert Gough. The title track, a setting of the well-known Communion text by Gabriel Jackson, is a serene vehicle for these beautifully pure voices. The soprano line in particular is a blemishless thread. The basses are nimble: few ever manage the "thundering" in Weelkes’s Alleluia with such precision. The choir is coolly contemporary in Pärt’s Magnificat, romantically heroic in Bruckner’s Christus Factus, and breathtakingly expressive in Weelkes’s When David Heard." ****