Exultate Singers’ first release on the Naxos label offers connections and contrasts in music of devotion and consolation in a wide-ranging programme.
The settings by life-long friends Holst and Vaughan Williams, whilst very different, are highly affecting. The music of Rachmaninov, whose hymn derives from his 1915 All-Night Vigil, and John Tavener is immersed in the ritual of the Russian Orthodox Church. Marian Prayers come from Pierre Villette and Knut Nystedt. The music that gives its name to the title of the disc is the beautiful ‘conversation’ of Roxanna Panufnik, All Shall Be Well, which the choir commissioned in 2009. The piece, scored for double choir and cello, was written for a concert marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and was premiered in Clifton Cathedral.
1. All Shall Be Well (premiere recording) – Roxanna Panufnik (b.1968)
2. Nunc Dimittis – Gustav Holst (1874-1934)
3. Valiant-for-Truth – Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
4. Bogoroditsye Dyevo – Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)
5. Svyati – John Tavener (b.1944)
6. Totus Tuus – Henryk Górecki (1933-2010)
7. O magnum mysterium – Jaakko Mäntyjärvi (b.1963)
8. Hymne à la Vierge – Pierre Villette (1926-1998)
9. Stabat Mater – Knut Nystedt (b.1915)
With Richard May – cello
The CD was recorded in St Georges Bristol, and was released on 1st May 2012.
The CD was featured on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune on 10th May, and was played on Radio 3’s The Choir on Sunday 3rd June. It was selected as the Essential CD of the Week on Rob Cowan’s Essential Classics for the week of Monday 4th – Friday 8th June.
Recorded at St George’s Bristol, UK 11-12 June 2011. Recorded, edited & mastered by Colin Rae; Producer: Daniel Moult; booklet notes: David Ogden; vocal coach: Frith Trezevant; language coaches: Alicja Mazur, Olena Shvetsova, Elizabeth Corrigan
“An exciting new CD” Aled Jones, The Choir, BBC Radio 3
“The emergence of the Exultate Singers, founded in 2002 by David Ogden, adds to the growing list of stellar British mixed choirs capable of producing topnotch performances of some of the most dauntingly challenging choral literature.” AllMusic
“This imaginatively programmed disc marks the Exultate Singers out as a choir to be reckoned with.” BBC Music Magazine
“Sung with requisite purity by the Exultate Singers under David Ogden… the most powerful tracks are John Tavener’s exotic Syvati and Henryk Górecki’s Totus tuus, a work that encourages pure contemplation.” Financial Times
“Exultate’s style of singing stands apart from the mainstream major British choral groups, the warm quality generated by thirty-eight voices, and being much larger than their famous counterparts, the tone is not stressed. Very good sound from the popular UK recording location in St. George’s, Bristol.” David Denton, Naxos.com
‘This is a beautifully sung account with a fine narrative sense and scrupulous attention to the composer’s dynamic markings…Richard May’s cello playing in all three works is outstandingly fine and his contribution is one of the great strengths of the disc. The recording is full and rich, beautifully balanced and clear, with an attractive church acoustic…Choral enthusiasts to whom the programme appeals shouldn’t hesitate.’ © 2012 International Record Review