Judith Weir: Choral Music

This first recording devoted entirely to Judith Weir’s choral music comprises her complete works to date for unaccompanied choir or choir with one instrument (trombone and marimba as well as the more usual organ).

Tracking her evolving relationship with the medium from her earliest liturgical commission to the most recent, premiered in 2009, it also includes several secular pieces and her two solo organ works, which are now established classics of the repertoire. The athleticism, intensity and clarity that mark out Geoffrey Webber’s choir are ideally suited to Weir’s strikingly original, approachable and fascinating music.

"The freshness and precision of Weir's writing is perfectly matched by the well tuned, clearly articulated singing of Geoffrey Webber's Gonville & Caius Choir...Nearby Jesus College Chapel provides an ideal acoustic for the beautifully judged recording, and its Kuhn organ offers Matthew Fletcher some pellucid colours for two modest, effective solo organ pieces inspired by Weir's native Scotland. Highly recommended."

"As several of the items on this disc illustrate, Judith Weir has always been well able to conform to the conventions of, say, the King's College Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols without losing all sense of identity and purpose in the process...The undeniable advantage is provided by the new (2007) Jesus College organ, whose rumbling basses and raw, reedy tone colours are ideal for Wild Mossy Mountains and Ettrick Banks."

"This selection of Weir’s choral music — a genre she has rather made her own — includes some lovely and literary inspirations."

"Every syllable of the text is distinct in these performances, and the textures never waste a note. It's a beautifully crafted body of work, a model of choral understatement that other contemporary British choral composers could well learn from."

"This impeccably performed disc by the Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge conducted by Geoffrey Webber displays [Weir's] gifts to best advantage...From the dense chords of "Prayer" to the elliptical effects of "Ascending into Heaven" and the folk colours of "Madrigal", composer and choir alike excel."

"pristinely delivered"

"Performances are predictably responsive and the excellent recording misses nothing."

"Performances are first-rate...a splendid way to discover just one intriguing aspect of this highly accessible, versatile and always imaginative British composer."

"As usual with a Delphian release production values are high. Paul Baxter’s engineering is excellent; the recording is clear, truthful and puts just the right amount of ambience round the performers...This disc offers an excellent survey of Judith Weir’s shorter choral music. The pieces really grab the listener’s attention and are well worth hearing."

Producer: Paul Baxter
Recording venue(s): Chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge
Recording dates: 8-10 July 2010
Physical format: Digipack
Number of discs: 1
Number of tracks: 18
Release date: 22 August 2011
Album ID: DCD34095
Total playing time: 0:59:26

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