In his booklet notes to the disc John McCabe discusses the "constant pleasure" he derives from composing choral music, and in particular carols, which he sees as contributing to music for the community. All I can say is that this disc opens a whole new area of McCabe's music, one which will be bringing me constant pleasure in the years to come!
The Three Marian Carols which open the disc are pieces of simple beauty, I dare say that they are not that simple to sing, but they have a quality about them a bit like the Three Carol Anthems of Herbert Howells, which just makes you want to hear more. These are followed by the Mangan Triptych, The major work on the disc, more complex choral writing here, complex melismatic singing and alternating time signatures, but still beautiful music. These are followed by another eight choral settings, some purely choral some accompanied by the organ, among them Amen/Alleluia, where over five minutes of music is weaved around these two words, mesmeric!
This is an outstanding disc, music in the same league as Leighton and Berkley that will bring joy to the listener, and a peerless performance from the BBC Singers, they truly are one of the finest choirs in the country.