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Chorzeit Magazine Gives Four Stars to Songs of Renewal

May Issue of Chorzeit – das Vokalmagazin features a four-star review for Bath Camerata’s Songs of Renewal

Songs of Renewal

“’Songs of Renewal’ are songs of rebirth. That is to be understood in two senses of the word: On the one hand, the album documents the occupation of contemporary British choral music in the sense of a rejuvenation of a tradition, on the other, the music deals with the spiritual question of what awaits us next.

«O Earth, O Earth, return»! This is the message of the poet William Blake, who inspired composer Jonathan Dove to create a minimalistic beginning to his seven-part cycle ‘The Passing of the Year’. The pulsating piano music sounds as a powerful invocation, which opens the door to captivatingly beautiful choral sounds. ‘The Narrow Bud Opens Her Beauties’ – like scraps of memory, the voices overlap each other. ‘Answer July’ is a fun question-and-answer game between women and men with words by Emily Dickinson. ‘Ring Out, Wild Bells’ may be understood as a hymn to nature’s rebirth – wild, bizarre, alive.

The young conductor Benjamin Goodson continues the tradition of his choir to perform contemporary British music. He does that with devotion and empathy. Every note, every sound melts on the tongue, is interpreted, invites you to notice. As a listener you are enveloped in the action, experience silence as part of music, and sometimes forget that you are listening to a chorus at all. Devotion to music: here the term really applies.

In addition to the contemporary works of Judith Weir and Cecilia McDowall, there are also two commissioned premieres on the album: Will Todd’s ‘Songs of Renewal’ and the final ‘Everyone Sang’ by Roderick Williams. This latter piece is a great work, which is initiated with a whistle, equal to a football game of the Premier League, the British counterpart to the Bundesliga. The subsequent massive chorus glissando creates a monstrous noise, amplifying the impression of a tumult, only to retreat suddenly. Out of nowhere, the delicate sound of the choir reappears. The voices rise again: «And beauty came like the setting sun». With this romantic image of the evening sun, the sound retreats and draws the album to a close. The listeners are left to silence and to the feeling of having experienced something extraordinarily beautiful.”

—Haino Rindler, Chorzeit – das Vokalmagazin (translation by Benjamin Goodson)

Choir’s Sound: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Interpretation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

See the full review in the original German in the May 2019 issue of Chorzeit – das Vokalmagazin available now at chorzeit.de