William Mathias: Choral Music – Choral CD review10:07, 21st February 2020
William Mathias: Choral Music
St John’s Voices, The Gentlemen of St John’s / Graham Walker (dir)
Naxos 8.574162 [71:52]
William Mathias, like his compatriot Alun Hoddinott and their contemporary Nicholas Maw, needs his music to be championed on recordings to keep it alive and before the public. Most choral singers know Mathias’s secular carol Sir Christèmas, but how many of them would be familiar with any of the pieces on this excellent CD from choirs linked to St John’s College, Cambridge? Yet A Babe is Born, which kick-starts this programme, is every bit as joyful and rhythmically slick. And the delightful Learsongs show Mathias’s sense of humour, while the Ave verum corpus, one of his final compositions, is a superbly crafted miniature which ought to be better known. The whole programme is thoughtfully chosen, superbly executed, beautifully recorded – and, best of all, hugely enjoyable.