As a composer of sacred music, Bob Chilcott has found his own niche by writing accessible choral works that speak to contemporary sensibilities. As has been noted frequently, his Requiem evokes Gabriel Fauré and Maurice Duruflé, mostly through its gentle feeling and serene melodies, though without imitating their style or content. Rather, it has its own mix of somber harmonies and fluid, chantlike lines, and the expression of the work is a little cooler and darker. Chilcott's music admits occasional and mild dissonance, though the orientation is strongly modal and the harmonies always feel like a natural result of the counterpoint. Chilcott's Salisbury Motets, Downing Service, and three shorter pieces share the same modern Anglican style, which is approachable and easy to follow. The Wells Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Matthew Owens, sings with a pure tone and clear diction, and the sound of the recordings is quite resonant, thanks to the responsive acoustics of the Cathedral of St. Andrew.
The first time girls have been allowed to sing in the 1,400 year history of Canterbury Cathedral.
The music of the sixteenth-century composer Palestrina is still today at the heart of many of the Roman Catholic services sung all around the world. The congregation at Westminster Cathedral is particularly fortunate to hear on a regular basis this inspirational music sung by one of the finest choirs in the world, and this album focuses on music for Whitsuntide.
This recording has a huge advantage over most of its rivals for the attention of Tallis listeners: the wonderful acoustics of Winchester Cathedral. In this magnificent space, the soaring lines and resplendent harmonies of Tallis's greatest masterpieces find sympathetic resonance, resulting in a heightened dramatic presence that takes the music beyond earthly confines. Of course, beyond the exceptional quality of the writing, credit must go to the phenomenal men and boys of Winchester Cathedral Choir. Where, even in England, does one find trebles who sing with more assuredness, musicality, and beauty of tone? With a repertoire including "In ieiunio et fletu," "Salvator mundi," "In manus tuas," "The Lamentations of Jeremiah," "O nata lux," and the unbelievable 40-part motet "Spem in alium," this is the Tallis disc to own if you're buying only one.