The grand collegiate choirs of England continue to flourish, and it's not surprising that composers continue to write music for them following well-worn paths. A rising star in the field is Matthew Martin, a product of the same Magdalen College Oxford music forces that perform here, but also in demand among other college and cathedral choirs. What some may think of this selection of mostly brand-new, organ-accompanied music depends largely on any feelings toward Martin's models: Kenneth Leighton, and before him, Benjamin Britten and a host of other composers of British sacred music going back to the 19th century. The hallmarks of the style are there: the quartal harmonies deployed in fanfare-like bursts, the quasi-Renaissance moves, the broadly pictorial writing. Martin perhaps has a bit more of Stravinsky's neo-classical sacred music in the mix than the others, but it would be hard to say he has advanced the tradition much. He has, nevertheless, handled it suavely, and the musicians involved in the project, under director Daniel Hyde, are to the manner (and perhaps the manor) born. So are the engineers from Opus Arte, who get absolute clarity, curiously not from the Magdalen College Chapel but from that of Oxford's Keble College. Recommended for aficionados of the big British choral styles.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Chester Missa Brevis|
|St John's College Service|
|A Short Mass of St Dominic|