Vaughan Williams: A Cappella Choral Works

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Vaughan Williams: A Cappella Choral Works Review

by James Leonard

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.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Laudibus 02:41
2 Laudibus 03:09
Shakespeare Songs (3) for chorus
3 Laudibus 03:00
4 Laudibus 01:58 Amazon
5 Laudibus 01:08 Amazon
6 Laudibus 04:16
Mass for soloists & chorus in G minor
7 Laudibus 03:55
8 Laudibus 03:47
9 Laudibus 06:04
10 Laudibus 02:18
11 Laudibus 02:09
12 Laudibus 03:37
13 Laudibus 04:58
14 Laudibus 04:58
15 Laudibus 01:34
Elizabethan Songs (3), partsongs for chorus
16 Laudibus 02:10
17 Laudibus 02:13
18 Laudibus 01:28
19 Laudibus 05:20
20 Laudibus 03:02
blue highlight denotes track pick