The Evening Hour : British Choral Music from the 16th and 20th centuries

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Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge, Bertie Baigent
Signum SIGCD446

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he mixed voices of Jesus College Choir and the male voices of the Chapel Choir produce a gorgeous blended sound in their home chapel, captured vividly by the Signum engineers. The early works are particularly idiomatically sung, with lovely accounts of Sheppard’s exquisite In manus tuas  and Byrd’s diaphanous Miserere. Robert Whyte’s Christe qui lux es  is also given a delicious reading although notwithstanding some very fine solo singing from tenor Jaliya Senanayake, Orlando Gibbons’ beautiful Behold thou has made my days  sounds rather more hesitant, perhaps due to the lay-out of the forces. It is a pleasure to hear a substantial choral work, In pace, by William Blitheman, a composer better known to me as a writer of music for organ. The College Choir even manages to make real music out of the rather formulaic and unpromising setting of Miserere  by Thomas Tallis. This is generally a rather melancholy programme of music for the end of the day but also for the end of life, but the atmospheric singing of the choristers is of a high standard, and Jesus College is to be congratulated in supporting two such fine choral groups. It is fascinating to hear the very different sounds produced by the respective choirs as well as the combined sound of both singing together.

D. James Ross