Kerensa Briggs: Requiem


Now in her early thirties, Kerensa Briggs could hardly have enjoyed a more salubrious childhood for a composer of sacred choral music, surrounded by music in Gloucester Cathedral close, singing in choirs and hearing the daily choral services. Briggs went on to study music and sing as a choral scholar at King’s College London, and her music and her understanding of the way the voice works have their roots in this deep immersion.

This recording is the first dedicated to her music, in a portrait programme of premieres. Joseph Fort and The Choir of King’s College London continue to attract widespread critical acclaim, both for the ambition of their recorded programmes and for their polished and mature execution.

"This resplendent first portrait album is fruitful evidence of a long immersion in choral singing ... Briggs is now enriching the choral repertoire herself ... The Requiem is a substantial statement, Briggs, bringing her own colours to the gently assuaging tradition of Durufle and Faure ... Eschewing the customary angelic treble, a mezzo-soprano soloist, the beguiling Anita Monserrat here, acts as advocate, from the rousing opening call of ‘Requiem aeternam’ to its more accepting recall at the close, via arabesques and curlicues periodically burnishing the choral textures in between. Organ provides the only accompaniment, its generally restrained contributions sensitively handled by Richard Gowers ... the Choir of King’s College London under the assured direction of Joseph Fort are strong advocates for Briggs’s alluring and heartfelt music"


★ ★ ★ ★


"Briggs admits to various influences including one of her mentors James Macmillan. But the most obvious one to my ears, well they're the French sacred choral composers, especially Maurice Duruflé, his Requiem, as you'll hear in the opening, similarly based on plainsong ... This is the first recording [of this piece] from the Choir of King's College, London, with organist Richard Gowers, directed by Joseph Fort. We probably come to expect solo sopranos or boy trebles, but the darker, richer timbres of mezzo Anita Monserrat are striking; the choir sings very well, the recorded balance with the organ is excellent, and it's the first recording dedicated to Kerensa Briggs's music. It's a lovely way to discover [Briggs' choral music]"


"One of the joys of the Delphian label is its willingness to take a punt on upcoming composers. In this case its “portrait of premieres” spotlights Kerensa Briggs, a graduate of King’s College London, now in her early thirties. The main feature is her Requiem, performed by the choir of her alma mater, whose angelic homogeneity reveals a composer of deep-rooted sincerity and, to some extent, unfashionable conservatism. Based on Gregorian chant, what transpires is a mellifluous stream of consciousness, a modal tapestry clearly influenced by the French sacred music of, say, Duruflé and his contemporaries. Under director Joseph Fort, and accompanied by organist Richard Gowers, this stylish choir find genuine warmth in a work that clearly comes from the heart ... The album ends with a series of shorter works, including a rather beautiful Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, pairing of The Windsor Service"

★ ★ ★ ★

" Kerensa Briggs has written a wonderful setting of the Requiem. I haven’t previously heard a composition by her on such a large scale and I was seriously impressed with the quality, eloquence and sincerity of the piece. She responds very acutely to the words she has chosen to set and the result is that the Requiem is beautiful and affecting. She is superbly served by the performers on this first recording. [Briggs' music] is consistently beautiful ... In Anita Monserrat we hear a singer who is ideally suited to the music. Her voice is well-focused, rich and round-toned and she sings with fine expressiveness ... I hope that the music will receive a higher profile through this recording, leading to other choirs taking it up"


read the full review here

Release Date: 26 May 2023
Catalogue No: DCD34298
Total playing time: 55:57

Recorded on 10-12 June 2022 at St Barnabas, Ealing
Producer/Engineer: Paul Baxter
Editor: Jack Davis
Design: Drew Padrutt
Booklet Editor: Henry Howard
Session Photography: Ben Reason Photography  

Singing In Secret: Clandestine Catholic Music by William Byrd CD Delphian Records


13. Inner Light


The beautiful In Paradisum from Kerensa Briggs' Requiem, performed after recording sessions in London...

Album Booklet

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