Rhinegold

John Barnett

Stabat (Pärt, Vasks and MacMillan) – Choral CD review

2:44, 29th April 2020

Stabat (Pärt, Vasks and MacMillan)
Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, The Dmitri Ensemble / Graham Ross (dir)
Harmonia mundi HMM 905323 [79:44]
★★★★★

This exceptional recording from Graham Ross and his Clare College Choir joins their thematic discography exploring seasons of the church year. Stabat is largely concerned with Passiontide, though not exclusively. What does unite it unequivocally is its exploration of north European choral music and the new musical vocabulary that emerged from the beginning of the 1980s. The Estonian Arvo Pärt is the leading figure and his music – the Stabat Mater, Da pacem, Domine, The Woman in the Alabaster Box, and his Magnificat & Nunc dimittis – takes the lion’s share, to which is added James MacMillan’s Miserere and the Latvian Peteris Vasks’s beautiful Plainscapes. Ross has curated a programme that engages the listener on every level – one which, on the evidence of this disc, inspired his youthful singers to give of their very best. They sing with great assurance, beauty of tone and great conviction, ably supported by the Dmitri Ensemble. A fine achievement.

PHILIP REED

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