Advent at Merton
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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.
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent product. Great music and the CD is in good,'nick.'! The price is right too.Published 4 months ago by Peter Todd
Well worth buying, and not just for old Mertonians!
Some lovely music, beautifully sung - well worth buying I would have thought