"Judith Bingham is a former member of the BBC Singers, so it of no surprise to discover that she writes so effectively for chamber choir, each piece idiomatic yet challenging, and large with meaning. There’s the expressive, mystic, alpineinspired Gleams of a Remoter World. There’s the hope-filled Water Lilies, the sense of awe in Ghost Towns of the American West, a touching allegory of sin and forgiveness in the Shepheardes Calendar. Most powerful of all, however, is the by turns poignant and angry cycle Irish Tenebrae. Under David Hill’s direction, this superb choir gives precise, passionate and powerful readings." ***
The Times - January 2009
"No reservations about this disc of compositions by a former member of the BBC Singers, except to wonder if the title may be a turn-off for some collectors?
I have been aware of Judith Bingham as a successful and eclectic composer in several genres, but this superbly devised programme places her firmly in the forefront of contemporary choral composers.
There are settings of striking poems by Shelley, Spenser, Yeats, Lamb, Symons, Frost and the American pioneer poet Vesta Pierce Crawford, as well as one by Bingham herself. Bingham has a special gift, which reminded me of Britten’s, for selecting apt and memorable poems to set. Having had that thought, I was pleased to note that one of the songs had words by Auden and was premiered by the Britten Singers.
Full texts are provided and following them is essential for proper appreciation. Mostly the songs are meditations upon the poems, without any expectation that the words should be easy, or indeed possible, for listeners to follow by ear alone. Many of them, and the settings, are gems and the whole sequence is one that I have quickly returned to and heard twice through. The notes by Judith Bingham herself are pertinent and interesting.
This is a very classy production. Several of the BBC Singers are featured as soloists, all of them predictably excellent, and there are in some of the items distinguished musicians providing obbligatti for violin, percussion, organ - and whistlers !
This is a choral CD to treasure, one of the year’s best."
Peter Grahame Woolf
MusicalPointers.co.uk - November 2008
"The BBC Singers and Judith Bingham are a wonderful collaboration and this new album is not to be missed."
Musical Criticism.com - 12 January 2009
"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." ****
BBC Music Magazine - February 2009
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