In Praise of Saint Columba: The Sound-world of the Celtic Church

This groundbreaking programme from Geoffrey Webber’s consistently inventive choir seeks to recreate three distinct sound-worlds. Just as the influence of Irish monks extended not only across Scotland but also to mainland Europe, so we imagine our way back down the centuries into 7th-century hermits’ cells, 10th-century Celtic foundations in Switzerland, and the 14th-century world of Inchcolm Abbey, the ‘Iona of the East’ in the Firth of Forth.

Silent footprints of musical activity – the evidence of early notation but also of stone carvings, manuscript illuminations, and documents of the early Church – have guided both vocal and instrumental approaches in the choir’s work with scholar and piper Barnaby Brown, an exciting extended collaboration which was further informed by oral traditions from as far afield as Sardinia and the Outer Hebrides.


"Webber and his choristers have produced a generously filled disc that seeks to recreate three distinct sound worlds...Everything is performed with a missionary zeal...hauntingly beautiful."


"Who can say whether these interpretations of chants and hymns from the early Celtic church are authentic, but they have been done with intelligence, musicality and enthusiasm…[the choir] give a bracing vigour and unusual freedom to this ancient music."


Recording venue(s): St Peter’s Church, Horningsea, Cambridgeshire
Recording dates: 16-18 July 2013
Physical format: Jewel case
Number of discs: 1
Number of tracks: 15
Total playing time: 1:16:15
Album ID: DCD34137