Lighten our Darkness

Lighten our Darkness

by Cambridge Singers


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Lighten Our Darkness: Music for the Close of Day is the first disc seen in a long, long time from British label Collegium Records and its sole talents, John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers. This one is a radical departure from just about everything the choir has done for Collegium in the past, particularly as it does not include a single John Rutter composition, original or arranged. Rather, the focus is on the office of Compline, which in the Benedictine order is the last prayer sung before bedtime. This tradition was handed down from the Rule of St. Benedict in the sixth century; however, many orders do not regard it as legit, and observe Vespers as the last service of the day. Nonetheless, the practice of observing Compline took hold in England, where it is an integral part of the English "Sarum" service and has been for centuries. This was recorded in England's Ely Cathedral, which was erected in the eleventh century under the dictate of William the Conqueror and remains one of only a few Gothic era cathedrals still standing in Britain. Although the building was made for Catholic services, the Anglican Rite has been the norm at Ely since the sixteenth century. The music collected here is drawn from a variety of material used for Compline, from rare sixteenth century English Catholic pieces to music for Spanish Catholic, German Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox services, the last represented by Rachmaninov's famous setting of "Ave Maria." The Compline service is meant to be short, but the disc is not -- several pieces are presented in a position relative to where just one might normally appear. The sound of the Ely Cathedral is a little generous, but the choral parts are still well distinguishable. The soprano section of Rutter's choir is especially good -- you would swear that these were boys, and it is surprising to learn that they are all adult women. The pieces are all very beautifully done, particularly the works of Sheppard, Victoria, and Byrd, not to mention Rachmaninov. Lighten Our Darkness: Music for the Close of Day contains a second disc containing a complete Compline service in plainchant. This is a VERY complete service, as it includes the spoken portions, such as the Lesson and responses. Collegium does not provide the source for the chant, but it probably is the revised 1929 Anglican service as published in The Book of Common Prayer, as it is alluded to in the notes. Oddly, this short disc, which reflects the true length of an average Compline service, is rather more successful at inducing a peaceful and pleasant mood ideal for chilling out before bedtime than the main disc.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/17/2006
Label: Collegium
UPC: 0040888013129
catalogNumber: 131
Rank: 148206


  1. In pace in idipsum for four voices
  2. Libera Nos, Salve Nos I for 7 voices
  3. Justorum animae, motet for 5 voices, M. xii (S. v/139)
  4. Pater noster, for 8 voices
  5. O Lord, the Maker of All Things, anthem for 4 voices
  6. Visita Quaesumus Domine, motet for 4 voices (SSAT)
  7. Abendlied, Op 69/3
  8. Christe qui lux es (a 5), motet for 5 voices (SATTB)
  9. O gladsome light, for 4 voices
  10. Te lucis ante terminum (Procul recedant somnia) (I), motet for 5 voices, P. 214
  11. Missa Alma Redemptoris mater, for 2 choirs & organ
  12. Ave regina coelorum, antiphon for 5 voices
  13. Regina coeli, antiphon for 5 voices
  14. Salve Regina, antiphon for 6 voices
  15. Ave Maria
  16. Bogoroditse devo, radouisya (Rejoice Virgin, Mother of God), for chorus
  17. In manas tuas Domine, motet for 4 voices (SATB)
  18. In manus tuas, for chorus
  19. Compline Service

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