Evensong Live 2015

King's College Choir of Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury

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Evensong Live 2015 Review

by James Manheim

The title of this release by the venerable Choir of King's College, Cambridge, may remind hearers of a certain age of the old Soviet jokes in which someone is asked whether a news account is true, and answers in principle, yes, but then goes on to qualify the answer by saying that each individual part is untrue. Evensong Live 2015 wasn't recorded in 2015, wasn't really recorded live, and isn't specifically connected to the Evensong liturgy. Bearing all this in mind, it's a reasonable showcase for the choir's youthful choristers, some of the best in the business. What's here is a rather random collection of motets, recorded at various times in 2013 and 2014 for the choir's weekly webcasts. The pieces are a thematic jumble, with the four famous Christmas motets of Francis Poulenc (inaccurately identified in the booklet as having lived until 2010) up against British works of various periods and a very nice Totus tuus of Henryk Górecki. The program begins conventionally with Tallis and broadens out into larger pieces by Parry and Mendelssohn (Hear my prayer, with one of the famous boy soprano solos very nicely done). The fine, angular performance of Jehan Alain's Litanies for organ by Tom Etheridge is another plus. Listeners may be able to find more focused recordings of British collegiate choir music, but for those seeking a general sampling of music of this type, Evensong Live 2015 will do fine.

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