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IMPECCABLE ENSEMBLE

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'Christopher Robinson demonstrates that his team is at the forefront of our church choirs ...'

Rubbra's church music -
with ROBERT ANDERSON

 

Rubbra: Nine Tenebrae Motets (p) 2001 HNH International Ltd

In 1948 Edmund Rubbra was received into the Roman Catholic church, and that is the defining moment for this CD. Give Rubbra a Latin text , whether of the Mass or the Tenebrae responsories for Maundy Thursday, and he seems at once able to tap a vein of profound yet simple music that embodies the words in a setting at once authentic and right. Perhaps he is also happier when not having to accommodate an organ accompaniment. The Latin words are not only part of a living, pre-Vatican II tradition, but elicit also a direct response that will brook no interruption. It is impossible not to be impressed by the stern start to the 1949 setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in their Anglican version [listen -- track 1, 0:03-1:06]. There is, though, not the concentration and moving integrity that will be apparent in the Mass to celebrate his conversion to Rome. It must also be said that the St John's College organ is a lesser instrument than the Chapel choir. The singers have a range of expression from deep seriousness to high brilliance that the organ does not match. Its tones are never less than respectable, but they cannot always escape a charge of dullness.

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Copyright © 11 August 2001 Robert Anderson, London, UK

 

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