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Cantate Domino review

Birmingham Post 6 February 1999

Christopher Morley's Classical CD of the week in the Birmingham Post

Paul Spicer has devised here an enjoyable sequence, sourced mainly from John Rutter's recent OUP compendium European Sacred Music, reflecting the strength in depth of his Birmingham Bach Choir's repertoire. The mood is predominantly reflective (indeed, even the opening offering, Gabrielli's Jubilate Deo, seems more pensive than affirmative), though leavened by more extrovert material along the way.

There is a fair proportion of 19th century music here: Brahms (both choral and solo organ), Bruckner (including the well loved Locus Iste), Rheinburger and Mendelssohn, whose wonderfully affecting vocal writing is stiffened by appropriately virile delivery. From other centuries we relish Lotti's famous, emotion-laden Crucifixus and, the biggest surprise in this collection, the simple dignity and genuine piety of O Vos Omnes by cellist Pablo Casals.

Recorded quality in Highgate's splendid St Alban's Church is atmospheric, the singers working hard to provide diction. Robert Sharpe's organ contributions are well-judged (including a delicious Carillon Sortie by the little-known Henri Mullet), and this well-produced CD comes with two reproductions of local Burne-Jones windows.

**** well worth your money

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