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Lighten our Darkness

Music for the close of day, including the Office of Compline

The Cambridge Singers
John Rutter (conductor)


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The service of Compline has inspired many incredibly beautiful compositions and this collection gathers together 18 of the many lovely a cappella choral motets written to adorn the evening worship of the church.

Composers include Byrd, Guerrero, Rachmaninov and Sheppard, alongside such less well-known masterworks as Rheinberger’s Abendlied and the four great Marian motets of Victoria. In addition, the Office of Compline, sung in English with its traditional chants, is included in its entirety on a bonus CD.

Lighten our Darkness sees John Rutter and his Cambridge Singers return to the austere surrounds and sumptuous acoustic of the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral, where many of their classic recordings from the 1980s and early 1990s were recorded.

Track list

  1. In pace (Sheppard)
  2. Libera nos, salva nos (Sheppard)
  3. Justorum animae (Lassus)
  4. Pater noster (Jacob Handl)
  5. O Lord, the Maker of all thing (William Mundy)
  6. Visita, quaesumus Domine (Byrd)
  7. Abendlied (Rheinberger)
  8. O Christ who art the light and day (Byrd)
  9. O gladsome light (Louis Bourgeois)
  10. Te lucis ante terminum (Tallis)
  11. Alma Redemptoris Mater (Victoria)
  12. Ave Regina caelorum (Victoria)
  13. Regina caeli laetare (Victoria)
  14. Salve Regina (Victoria)
  15. Ave Maria (Guerrero)
  16. Bogoroditsye Dyevo (Rachmaninov)
  17. In manus tuas (Byrd)
  18. In manus tuas (Sheppard)
  19. Office of Compline (plainchant – tracks 19–30)


“The whole is a completely believable rendering of a lovely, pacific end-of-day liturgy and the essential simplicity and intimacy of the service is properly conveyed. And, of course, the language is wonderful.” MusicWeb International

“For tone, blend, dynamic range, perfection of intonation and sheer beauty of sound, the Cambridge Singers are matched by few…” Church Music Quarterly

“Subtitled “Music for the Close of Day”, this is a generous anthology of “choral classics” conducive to calm and meditation. The Cambridge Singers are a fine mixed choir whose sound is representative of the English choral tradition very near its best; and they have the luxury of one of the most impressive acoustics around, that of the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral. So, it’s worth saying that they achieve what the packaging and presentation promise.” Gramophone

“… Beautifully recorded in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral, this is one of the sweetest-sounding English collections I’ve heard lately. This is the very kind of spacious and airy acoustic that Renaissance music thrives in, with just the right touch of reverberation. The Cambridge Singers – one of England’s top handful of mixed chamber choirs – delivers well-nigh perfect choral craftsmanship and luscious sound. Besides impeccable and beautifully nuanced interpretations, Rutter sees to his usual no-nonsense user-friendly booklet – with concise notes accompanying the texts for each piece. It’s must-hear material…” American Record Guide

“Over the years I’ve bought and enjoyed most of Rutter’s recordings with the Cambridge Singers, including several featuring his own music. However his best recordings of all have been the anthologies of a cappella liturgical music, such as this. This latest example is the finest of them all. Rutter has had the happy idea of marrying a recital of music for the close of day with a complete Office of Compline. The whole is a completely believable rendering of a lovely, pacific end-of-day liturgy and the essential simplicity and intimacy of the service is properly conveyed. And, of course, the language is wonderful. The engineers have captured both the singers and the acoustic of the building most atmospherically. The singing is superb from start to finish, mixing radiance and clarity to perfection. The documentation accompanying the disc includes succinct but informative notes and all the texts with English translations. This is a lovingly performed and deeply satisfying pair of discs that should be self-recommending to all lovers of the music of the English church.” MusicWeb International

Printed music featured on this disc

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