Graham Ross and the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, have released a series of albums on Harmonia Mundi that outline the liturgical year, with programs devoted to Advent, Christmas, Passiontide, Easter, All Saints and All Souls, and Epiphany. This 2018 album, O lux beata Trinitas, rounds out the series with music on the subject of the Trinity, featuring works from the British and Russian choral traditions. The increasing popularity of Orthodox Christian chant and liturgical music by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Sergey Rachmaninov, and to a lesser extent Alexander Grechaninov, Mikhail Glinka, and Pavel Cesnokov, may have revitalized the Western choral repertoire, but the core of most English church music still depends on the customary mix of Renaissance masters (represented here by William Byrd and John Sheppard), Victorians (Charles Villiers Stanford, John Stainer, and Charles Wood), and modern and contemporary composers (Benjamin Britten, James Macmillan, Gabriel Jackson, and Joshua Pacey), giving the Clare College Choir a great variety of sacred styles and moods to choose from. Of added interest for choral fans are the two world premiere recordings: Ross' Duo Seraphim, an ecstatic antiphonal work of haunting intensity, and Pacey's Tres sunt, a contemplative motet that essentially outlines the Trinitarian doctrine in English and Latin texts. This collection demonstrates the group's extraordinary versatility and compelling ensemble sound, which give the performances an air of excitement not usually associated with English choral music.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, for chorus, Op. 31|