Already celebrated in surveys of John Taverner and John Sheppard, the Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh now showcase the often overlooked music of William Mundy, which was at the heart of the Marian Catholic revival and then, just a few years later, made a vital contribution to the development of the Elizabethan motet.
Their programme centres on Mundy’s two most extended festal compositions, possibly sung to Queen Mary on the eve of her coronation in 1553 – the celebrated Vox patris caelestis and, newly reconstructed, the little known Maria virgo sanctissima. Two further premiere recordings feature alongside the remarkable collaboration of Mundy, Sheppard and a young William Byrd on music for the Easter procession, In exitu Israel. Combining powerful music on a ceremonial scale with shorter liturgical works, this recording conveys the choir’s sheer joy in their now firmly established role as ambassadors of sixteenth-century polyphony.
READ: Duncan Ferguson on William Mundy
"The Choir of St Mary’s, Edinburgh, has a fine track record in this repertory, and the novelty value of this recital warrants a strong recommendation. The shorter selections are especially well handled, for they don’t tax the singers unduly…I also like Duncan Ferguson’s forthright (dare I say it, un-churchy) approach to the lengthy passages of plainchant."
"Ferguson secures a rich, purposeful tone and response in tutti sections, particularly from the mixed-voice trebles…unanimity of diction are again crucial in the plainchant segments of In exitu Israel…All-Mundy recitals are a considerable rarity, and this one can be confidently recommended"