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Staggeringly prolific, John McCabe continues to create work of remarkable consistency, the dramatic ebb and flow and cyclical form of his orchestral work strongly reflected in his writing for voices. He has set the metaphysicals before, notably Henry Vaughan, who saw eternity as ‘a great ring of pure and endless light’ and it’s a nice image for the music here, which includes settings of Hardy (a chastened mystic, at best) and anonymous 16th-century Latin. Each piece seems to orbit tonal ideas which are left undeclared or ambiguous. The BBC Singers deliver the Three Marian Carols with affecting plainness and clear, unaffected diction. Verse-speaking may be a lost or dying art, but one suspects some of these voices benefited from it. Iain Farrington brings life and atmosphere to the organ pieces, The Morning Watch, The Evening Watch and Great Lord of Lords.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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