- Surrexit pastor bonus, motet for 5 voices
- Haec dies, for chorus & organ
Liturgical choral music is something of a tradition unto itself, interacting only incompletely with the musical styles that surround it. Many albums, especially British, program Renaissance works together with contemporary pieces that follow their basic sound and polyphonic textures. More recently have come programs that attempt to reproduce the liturgies of specific junctures in church calendars, with the aim of heightening the significance of the texts and the composers' musical responses to them. This release from the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, and director Graham Ross represents a nifty mixture of these two organizing principles. You have to get into the notes (or just read this review) to see it, but the program is divided into sections reflecting the music for Easter Day: Hymn at Lauds, Respond at Matins, Introit at Mass, Gradual at Mass, Sequence at Mass, Offertory at Mass, Motets, Communion at Mass, Anthems, and Magnificat at Vespers. These sections may include chant, one or more Renaissance works, and one or more Romantic or modern (but not very modern) works. At the center are three settings of the magnificent Easter gradual "Haec dies," from chant to Byrd to the young English composer Matthew Martin (born 1976). Some of the juxtapositions are unexpected (such as the Communion set including Byrd again, the little-known French composer Jean L'Héritier, and Rachmaninov), but you can make a case for all the music being part of one large tradition known to some degree to all these composers. Sample the diverse but mysteriously linked Introit pair of pieces by Samuel Scheidt and Ralph Vaughan Williams (tracks four and five). The youthful mixed voices of the Clare College Choir have just the right feel of commitment to the text, and the sound is superb. Recommended.