JOHN TAVENER (b.1944): Schuon Hymnen, JONATHAN HARVEY (1939-2002): How could the soul not take flight, JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): Alleluia, PETER MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934): Corpus Christi with Cat and Mouse, BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Sacred and profane.
Catalogue Number: 10R070
Label: SWR Music
Reference: CD 93.342
Description: Contemporary choral music doesn't have to be forbidding, seems to be the message of this disc. Maxwell Davies' piece sets the carol Corpus Christi in straightforward polyphony, to beautiful effect. However, interpolated between the stanzas are texts from a curious 16th-century manuscript on a wide range of commonplace, household matters, and here the composer plunders the full range of medieval to baroque vocal traditions, as he has gleefully done throughout his career, to produce a lively tapestry of scenes from everyday life, centered on religious devotion. MacMillan's piece is very tonal, and revolves around a setting of a Bach chorale, enshrouded in a halo of impressionistic dissonance, a beautiful effect familiar from much of the composer's recent choral writing. Harvey sets a text of Rūmī in a mood of mystical ecstasy, with suggestions of the otherworldly sounds of Eastern chant, surrounded by imitative nature sounds. The Tavener is tonal, combining chant and pure, luminous consonant chords in unexpected sequences, creating a solemn yet buoyant, elevated mood. Texts included. SWR Vokalenselmble Stuttgart; Markus Creed.