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Choral music on the theme of light

Choir of Clare College Cambridge
Timothy Brown (conductor)

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This rich programme, exploring the theme of light, was recorded in the magnificent acoustic of the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral. It marks the debut on the Collegium label of Timothy Brown and the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and features a rare recording of Ligeti's Lux Aeterna.

Track list

  1. Lumen (Gregorian chant)
  2. Bring us, O Lord God (Harris)
  3. Ehtoohymni (Rautavaara)
  4. Nyínye otpushcháyeshi (Rachmaninov)
  5. O Lux beata Trinitas (Byrd)
  6. O nata lux (Tallis)
  7. Te lucis ante terminum (Tallis)
  8. Hymn to the Creator of Light (Rutter)
  9. Hail, gladdening Light (Wood)
  10. Christe, qui lux es et dies (Whyte)
  11. Nunc dimittis (Holst)
  12. Christe, qui lux es et dies (Palestrina)
  13. Nunc dimittis (Josquin Desprez)
  14. Svyétye tíkhii (Grechaninov)
  15. Svyétye tíkhii (Tchaikovsky)
  16. Lucis Creator optime (Palestrina)
  17. Lux aeterna (Ligeti)



“The quality of choral tone here is remarkable … a wondrous record.” Gramophone

“…one of the most accomplished choral discs of the year.” Independent on Sunday

“This disc is a first-rate contribution to unaccompanied choral singing at its best and can be highly recommended.” MusicWeb International

“The choir sings with precise diction and radiant tone. This is a beautifully modulated journey…” Sunday Times

“Perfect late-night listening.” Financial Times

“The quality of choral tone here is remarkable: no thready sopranos, none of those bone-dry basses, but a sound that, though strictly disciplined in the matter of vibrato, is still fresh and natural. They achieve wonders of crescendo, as in William Harris’s Bring us, O Lord God, and their opening chords (in Tallis’s O nata lux for instance) are as if cut by the sharpest slicer ever made.” Gramophone

“The choir’s excellent technique ensures there is not one uneven performance among the 18 a cappella tracks.  Harris’s ‘Bring us, O Lord God’ is perhaps the most impressive, with its marvellously smooth, warm flow of sound: but the ‘early’ items also shine.  The two Palestrina hymn settings have a refreshing sensuality to their swelling polyphony, and the mellifluous lines of Hildegard and Josquin are positively curvaceous. This is the choir’s debut on Collegium, the label of its former musical director John Rutter (represented here by his ‘Hymn to the Creator of Light’). The intelligent musicality of the performances, complemented by full texts and well-presented, relevant notes,
ensure it comes highly recommended.” BBC Music Magazine

“This is a beautifully modulated journey from the invocation of Christ as Light of the World in the plainsong, Lumen, to the identification of eternal light with immensities of space in Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna, as used by Kubrick in 2001.  The 18 a cappella items, recorded in the”cappella” of Ely Cathedral’s Lady Chapel, have each to do with light and religion, but are vary varied in style.  After the chant comes a refulgent double-choir anthem by William Harris (1959), then the Orthodox setting of Finnish composer Rautavaara’s Evening Hymn (1972) with its depths-plumbing basslines. Among the highlights are a soaring pristine monody by Hildegard of Bingen, a superb account of Byrd’s motet O Lux beata Trinitas, and a spectacular Nunc Dimittis by Holst.  The choir sings with precise diction and radiant tone. Their very diversity of repertoire is indicative of the staying power of chant-based choral composition over 1,000 years.” Sunday Times

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