JUDITH WEIR (b.1954): All the Ends of the Earth, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, Missa del Cid, The Song Sung True, Storm.
Catalogue Number: 06Q085
Description: A nicely varied program of choral works by the recently appointed Master (Mistress? No, actually) of the Queen's Music. Weir is known and celebrated for her vocal music, which is tonal and avoids experimentalism of any kind; she has been spoken of a successor to Britten, not inappropriately. The obviously sacred pieces belong to the English choral tradition, with the composer's frequent device of incorporating elements of early music - in the case of All the ends of the Earth, a motet by Perotin. But the inventive Missa del Cid owes more to Weir's vast experience of opera. The Mass is incorporated into a series of dramatic scenes depicting episodes in the campaigns of the Castilian military commander, in the context of a dramatic cantata with narration and parts of the mediaeval story sung in Spanish by the choir. The Song... is again somewhat Brittenesque, while the relatively early (1997) Storm, based on Shakespeare's The Tempest, with its transparent orchestration and rhythmic vitality in ostinato-like cells sometimes suggests flirtation with Romantic minimalism, not evident in the composer's more recent output. Texts included. BBC Singers, Choristers of Temple Church, Endymion; David Hill.