Vaughan Williams' evocative Three Shakespeare Songs, haunting Greensleeves, and modal Mass in G minor are among the great works in the genre of twentieth century choral music. Though there have been superlative recordings of these works before, this 2008 disc from the English Delphian label can hold its own with any of them. For one thing, the 17-voice Laudibus ensemble has a clean tone, a sweet blend, a refined balance, and an obvious deep affection for the repertoire. For another thing, director Mike Brewer is a deft conductor who shapes beautifully molded and warmly sculpted performances. But what truly distinguishes these performances is the size of the ensemble and thus the clarity of the voice leading. With Brewer and Laudibus, one can hear everything that's going on, from the softly pinging sounds of "Full Fathom Five" to the lush modality of the Mass. Recorded in atmospheric digital sound, this is a disc to gladden the true Vaughan Williams believer and perhaps even convert a few new fans.
Vaughan Williams: A Cappella Choral Works Review
by James Leonard
|Shakespeare Songs (3) for chorus|
|Mass for soloists & chorus in G minor|
|Elizabethan Songs (3), partsongs for chorus|