The choral pieces on this Naxos release are something of a miscellany, ranging from part-songs to a superb Latin motet by Bax in a rather traditional style, from early works to an ambitious choral song from Delius. Nevertheless, many of the individual components are well worth your time. You might start in sampling with the opening track, On Craig Ddu (otherwise known as Wharley Point Cliffs in Wales), a gorgeous setting of a poem by English symbolist Arthur Symons. You'll immediately get a taste of the technically flawless yet warm Carice Singers under the direction of George Parris. Proceed through the early Delius part-songs, in various languages (including Norwegian, but not English), several of which written while the composer was studying, already well into adulthood, at the Leipzig Conservatory. Several other part-songs date from Delius' maturity; the little Midsummer Song is a fascinating, evanescent evocation of dancers heard on a summer night. The other highlight is the set of Five Greek Folk Songs by Arnold Bax, written in 1942 and inspired by an earlier meeting with Zoltán Kodály. Light in spirit yet considerably sophisticated, they represent one of the few English encounters with the continental influence of regional folk styles. The performances are top-notch throughout, and they make you want to hear more from this fine, small professional choir, named for Edward Elgar's daughter. Highly recommended for lovers of English choral music.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Two Unaccompanied Part-songs: To Be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water|
|Five Greek Folk Songs|