Westminster Cathedral Choir / Martin Baker

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AllMusic Review by

The Choir of Westminster Cathedral is a working group that sings for services at that center of modern British Catholicism. Although it has the classic cathedral choir configuration of men and boys in a small group, it doesn't really exemplify the classic "cathedral" sound. The boys' voices have some texture to them, and all in all they strive for direct engagement with the music rather than an ethereal effect. This collection of liturgically loosely related pieces offers a good example of the choir's style. It branches out from the traditional Renaissance motet repertory in two directions, back to plainchant and forward to a group of 20th century pieces written in emulation, but not in imitation, of strict Renaissance style. These works are the most distinctive feature of the album, and they make a nice change from the works by John Rutter and his ilk. George Malcolm, represented by three pieces here, was Master of Music at the cathedral in the early 20th century, and his works are strongly stamped by (especially) Palestrina without being of another time; they are seemingly severe but warm in manner. The relationship between the choral pieces and the plainchant is also well done: the group suggests the way chant and polyphony were used in the old liturgies without going to the lengths necessary to re-create actual sequences of events. An impressive outing for the Choir of Westminster Cathedral and its latest Master of Music, Martin Baker.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:23
2 8:43
3 4:30
Missa Emendemus in melius
4 2:38
5 5:04
6 4:11
7 2:39
8 5:35
9 0:46
10 4:45
11 0:53
12 4:05
Mass 9 Cum iubilo
13 2:04
14 3:21
15 3:13
16 4:36
17 5:34
Mass 9 Cum iubilo
18 1:39
19 1:31
20 4:58
21 2:06
Salva nos, Domine
22 0:28
23 1:38
Salve nos, Domine
24 0:39
blue highlight denotes track pick