Top critical review
on 18 September 2015
The last New Coll CD I bought was at least twelve years ago: The Bluebird. It was, as were all its predecessors, sublime. When I happened upon Illumina I thought it would be as enjoyable, especially from the several ringing endorsements by reviewers.
It was a disappointment. I found the 'choralisation' of both the Mahler and the Pheloung from the pen of Dr Higginbottom himself, banal. The voices added nothing to two already gorgeous pieces of music, in fact they detracted from them. Then the Lauridsen - unutterably dreary.
Why have an exclusively male choir if you are going to use such female-sounding voices as the treble soloists on the Mozart, and Pergolesi? Have girls and women in the choir!
I felt the whole playlist veered between showing-off or the cynical offering of lollipops to raise the slumped musical blood sugar. There were a number of 'make-weights' from repertoire which wouldn't have needed a lot of practise to get them up to speed (the Bruckner, Franck, and Durufle). Lacking in cohesion.
I bought two copies, one as a gift. Fortunately I hadn't given the gift at the time I listened to my copy so I shall return it for a refund.