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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released November 17, 2009 | Naxos

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Classical - Released October 7, 2016 | BR-Klassik

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Classical - Released October 6, 2017 | Signum Records

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The two choral works on this double album are not exactly similar in style. Although they fall broadly into the neo-tonal, contemporary British choral school, they are quite different in effect and in the harmonic-melodic spheres they inhabit. And this is exactly what makes the combination work. Both works set texts that might be expected to be occupied by other forces, yet both rely on the strength and familiarity of the British choral tradition to get their points across. James McCarthy's Codebreaker is operatic in nature; it's a kind of oratorio in which the story of British mathematician Alan Turing, who made major contributions to the World War II effort as a codebreaker, is ingeniously fitted to poems by Sara Teasdale. Despite his contributions, Turing was ruthlessly persecuted for being gay. Sample "Gordon Brown's Apology" to get a bit of the quite hard-hitting effect of this work. Will Todd's Ode to a Nightingale, by contrast, might have been a song in another world, but here it is designated as Choral Symphony No. 4. With what is apparently an actual nightingale on hand in the recording, it is compelling in its own way although the link between text and texture is less strong than in the McCarthy work. The Hertfordshire Chorus, which commissioned both these works, has clearly taken the time to master them under its conductor, David Temple, and the resulting performances are sympathetic. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the state of the art of contemporary British choral music in an accessible vein. © TiVo