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Advent at Merton

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Matthew Martin, William Byrd, James MacMillan, Judith Weir, Michael Praetorius, et al.
  • Audio CD (22 Oct. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Delphian Records
  • ASIN: B009H2PHSW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,152 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Ecce Concipies
  2. Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
  3. Rorate Caeli Desuper
  4. Advent Antiphon - Various Performers
  5. Drop Down, Ye Heavens, from Above
  6. Alvus Tumescit Virginis - Anna Steppler
  7. O Sapientia
  8. O Adonai
  9. O Radix Jesse
  10. O Clavis David
  11. O Oriens
  12. O Rex Gentium
  13. O Emmanuel - Jeremy Kenyon/Choir of Merton College, Oxford
  14. Es Ist Ein Ros' Entsprungen - Anna Steppler
  15. Ecce Virgo Concipiet
  16. Es Ist Ein Ros' Entsprungen - Emily Tann/Choir of Merton College, Oxford
  17. Ave Maria
  18. O Radiant Dawn

Product Description

Product Description

The beginning of Advent is celebrated with a particular solemnity at Merton. For its second recording, the choir explores the musical riches that adorn this most special time in the church year, centring on a newly commissioned sequence of Magnificat antiphons from seven leading composers including Howard Skempton, riks Eenvalds and Sir John Tavener. The mingled hopes, fears and expectations of the season are beautifully articulated by this fervent body of young singers.

Review

The excellent mixed-voice Choir of Merton College, Oxford has been heading fast up the ranks of collegiate choirs since the appointment of Benjamin Nicholas as director of music in 2008, and the close involvement of Peter Phillips (of Tallis Scholars fame), both of whom are conducting here. In this eclectic repertoire, broadly following the Christian theme of darkness into light, composers range from Byrd and Victoria to Judith Weir, Gabriel Jackson and Cecilia McDowall. The fresh, well-blended voices show vitality and drill, but the basses, in particular, bloom beautifully in James MacMillan's Advent Antiphon and John Tavener's O Adonai. --The Observer

THE anthems and antiphons that make up this adventurous Advent collection by the Choir of Merton College Oxford offer a broad spectrum of musical response to the pre-Christmas season. There s the abject simplicity and liturgical warmth of James MacMillan s Advent Antiphon, David Blackwell s sumptuously harmonised Lo, how a rose e er blooming, the chattering anticipation expressed in Matthew Martin s Ecce concipies, and a whole host of interesting new works that form part of a commissioning programme celebrating Merton s forthcoming 750th anniversary, as well as earlier works by Byrd and Vittoria. The singing is fresh and opulent, and delivered with a clarity and precision that sits pleasingly with the resonant ambience of the recordings. --The Scotsman

Peter Phillips and Benjamin Nicholas elicit high levels of technical and expressive achievement from their student charges. --BBC Music Magazine Christmas Issue 2012

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

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This was given to me and my wife as a Christmas present in 2012. It helps bring you into union with the cosmic living God. We especially liked the Advent Antiphon and I played this to her as she drew her last breath in the hospice in October 2013. It was then played again in church, at her Thanksgiving service.
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What an interesting progam, every bit of music is worth discovering ! Such beautiful music and perfectly sung ! A real gem !
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The first effect is of a highly atmospheric sound. We feel we are in a very special place. I have never been to Merton, but now I am longing to be there and be part of a service there..

Then there is the music, which is superbly performed throughout. Also the range of the music - all, of course related to the spirit of Advent, but most of it new to me. Just one tune - "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" - keeps reappearing in different forms giving the whole sequence a most pleasing sense of unity. But it is the originality and excitement that most grips me

I believe that the Merton Choir has only in recent years come to prominence in Oxford, under the inspired leadership of Benjamin Nicholas and Peter Phillips, and they have already created a wonderful Choir.

I shall play this CD every day throughout Advent. It is a magical disc.
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This is a relatively new choir but you would not think so from the professional interpretation of the music, the blend of the voices and the beutiful tone produced. An excellent recording and I strongly recommend that you buy it, not just for yourself, but for your friends.
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Bit of a disappointment, to be honest. I was persuaded to buy this after hearing Sandström's setting of 'Es ist ein Ros entsprungen' on BBC Radio 3 as part of the pre-Christmas riot of Xmas carol CD sampling. This setting is, I have to say, divine: if I believed in God (which I don't) I think it would certainly confirm me in my faith. Unfortunately, little of the rest of the CD came anywhere near that quality of inspiration. For example, 'Es ist ein Ros..' is really milked for all it's worth. There is also an English version on the CD, that I'm afraid I found rather trite, plus an organ version that I found dire, but then I've never been a fan of organ music. The quality of the choir is, however, consistently very high: the diction is wonderfully clear, the musical verve is very refreshing and there is a great confidence and sparkle overall. I'll just have to find a CD of theirs that has more music on it that I enjoy.
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