Andrew Achenbach offers an “enthusiastic” welcome to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir’s new The Glory and the Dream recording in the September issue of Gramophone Magazine:
“What an extraordinarily versatile and accomplished figure was Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012). As both performer and composer he possessed richly communicative gifts, and his sizeable output evinces an idiomatic mastery that makes itself felt in every genre, not least choral music. Back in May 2005 I waxed lyrical about a superb collection… and can now extend just as enthusiastic a welcome to this new Somm anthology.
Every item is receiving its premiere recording, save for The Glory and the Dream (2000). Conceived for mixed voices and organ, this 30-minute setting of Wordsworth’s 1804 ode ‘Intimations of Immortality’ from Recollections of Early Childhood strikes me as a riveting achievement, displaying a lofty ambition, emotional scope, fastidious craft and cumulative clout that effortlessly holds the listener in its spell. Gems likewise abound in the remainder of the programme, which showcases with unstinting eloquence Bennett’s instinctive sympathy for words from the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages. …
Suffice it to say, Paul Spicer secures splendidly disciplined and infectiously fervent results from the 33 young singers that make up the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir… Organist Nicholas Morris contributes in exemplary fashion to The Glory and the Dream. What’s more, everything has been captured with admirable fidelity by the Somm production team; in fact, all involved with the making of this CD can be very proud of their efforts.”