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Howells had his own well-documented sorrows and his Stabat Mater strikes at the very heart of the grieving mother text. The music captures the sombre mood, with riveting chorus entries and the composer’s use of solo oboe adding to the rich sound palette. David Hill gets into the very soul of the music and extracts an intensely gripping interpretation, enhanced by the superb tenor voice of Benjamin Hulett. For this performance of Sine nomine, the singers revert to the composer’s original intention of being wordless. Primarily an orchestral work, the two soloists and chorus add to the colour of the scoring which sets delicate, subtle hues alongside a rich vibrancy. Conductor, chorus and orchestra are completely at one, which makes this CD memorable.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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