Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, Graham Ross and Nicolas Haigh, Veni Emmanuel: Music for Advent

Advent is that period in the Christian calender that anticipates the coming of Christmas, a period representing and meditating upon the coming of Jesus Christ. It is a period with a rich heritage of choral music written to be sung at this time. The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, under Graham Ross has compiled a selection of works from the very ancient to the modern, written for the occasion, Veni Emmanuel (Harmonia Mundi 907579).

The program is framed by perhaps the very most beautiful music of all of them, "Veni, veni Emmanuel (O come, O come Emmanuel)," given beautiful performances in arrangements for both the Latin and the English versions. And then there is the nearly equally moving "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" by Praetorius. The collection has a little of everything great in this repertoire: plainchant, works by Byrd, Bach, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov, and the present-day John Taverner.

The Choir of Clare College sound exceptionally good, hauntingly so. Much of the music is a cappella. Nicolas Haigh accompanies the choir on organ for those that are not. Conductor Graham Ross deserves hardy congratulations (along with the Choir of course) for the wonderful high-precision and passion of the performances. The singers give their considerable all throughout.

It's a program that helps you appreciate the long tradition of music for Advent. You feel the time passing in music, the mystery, the exultation.

Veni Emmanuel fully enthralls. It is a hands-down winner. Kudos to Ross and the Choir of Clare College!

No comments:

Post a Comment