Upheld by Stillness

Harmonia Mundi: HMW906102

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Upheld by Stillness


Presto Disc of the Week

12th February 2016

Catalogue No:




Release date:

12th Feb 2016




78 minutes


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Upheld by Stillness

Renaissance gems and their reflections - Volume 1: Byrd

Bray, C:

Agnus Dei

world premiere recording & ORA commission


Quomodo cantabimus

Mass for five voices

Ave verum Corpus


Show me, deare Christ

world premiere recording & ORA commission

Monte, P:

Super flumina Babylonis

Panufnik, R:

Kyrie after Byrd

world premiere recording & ORA commission


Upheld by stillness

world premiere recording & ORA commission


Laudate Dominum

world premiere recording & ORA commission

Williams, Roderick:

Ave Verum Corpus Re-imagined

world premiere recording & ORA commission

ORA, Suzi Digby (artistic director and conductor)


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Read Presto's complete review of this disc here, and David's exclusive interivew with Suzi Digby here.

Founded in 2014, ORA was born out of a belief that we are in a second golden age of choral music, matching that of the Renaissance. With this in mind, the choir’s performances and recordings showcase classic masterpieces of Renaissance choral music alongside reflections from contemporary composers. The musicians of ORA bring with them a wealth of choral experience that we hope shows these pieces, both new and old, as the stunning works of art that they truly are. Commissioning new choral works and championing contemporary composers is very important to ORA, and the group has a firm commitment to regular commissioning from a wide selection of composers. This ranges from more established and prominent names to lesser-known but equally exciting discoveries. ORA, in conjunction with its affiliate patron’s group ORA100, has a clear programme in place for creating a substantial portfolio of contemporary commissions. ORA looks forward to recording and performing all of these works but also hopes that they will provide other vocal groups with a wealth of repertoire for generations to come.

Philippe de Monte: Super Flumina Babylonis

Super Flumina Babylonis

William Byrd: Quomodo cantabimus

Quomodo cantabimus

William Byrd: Mass for five voices

I. Kyrie

II. Gloria

III. Credo

IV. Sanctus and Benedictus

V. Agnus Dei

Roxanna Panufnik: Kyrie after Byrd

Kyrie after Byrd

Francis Pott: Laudate Dominum

Laudate Dominum

L'Estrange Alexander: Show me, deare Christ

Show me, deare Christ

Owain Park: Upheld by stillness

Upheld by stillness

Charlotte Bray: Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei

William Byrd: Ave verum corpus

Ave verum corpus

Roderick Williams: Ave verum corpus Re-imagined

Ave verum corpus Re-imagined

CD Review

13th February 2016

“ORA is made up of some of the UK’s finest consort singers, sitting to my ears somewhere between The Sixteen and Tenebrae…The melancholy severity of Byrd’s original is beautifully measured, ORA supplying some of the flexibility and relish for the unfolding harmonies I sometimes miss from The Sixteen’s recording … I’ll be listening eagerly to see if volume 2 is done with such a sure touch.”

Choir & Organ

May/June 2016

“ORA has taken as the starting point for its first album the glorious perfection of William Byrd’s polyphony, sung here with equal perfection … This CD is superb and together with these exemplary performances should receive many accolades.”

Early Music Review

20th March 2016

“Even if one already possesses one or more versions of Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices – and it is a work which invites and can bear any number of interpretations – it is well worth owning the disc under review, to hear the Mass in this accomplished performance by ORA in the company of some outstanding modern compositions which respond to it…be tempted, give in”

Early Music Today

June/August 2016

“immaculate performances … Panufnik’s ethereal Kyrie features intense harmonic shifts and long lines seamlessly delivered by the singers … Brilliantly showcased by ORA, all the new works should be snapped up for performance by other choirs.”

Gramophone Magazine

March 2016

“Set against the blanched purity of a group such as The Tallis Scholars, ORA's tone is more off-white - chill taken off by the character in these youthful voices. Digby's direction is about as interventionist as you can get in this repertoire without being mannered...Six premieres give this disc plenty of musical meat but what's surprising is the near-unanimity of the new works' sound worlds.”

MusicWeb International

February 2016

“Only those lovers of Byrd for whom mingling the old and new is anathema can fail to be impressed by this new recording. Others should not hesitate. I hope that this album succeeds as it deserves to do and look forward with interest to the forthcoming sequels”

Presto Classical

Katherine Cooper

12th February 2016

“Byrd’s great Mass for Five Voices provides the impetus for five of the six new commissions here, and it’s given complete and in sequence on the recording in a well-balanced and lovingly shaped performance of superb clarity which reveals every inner detail that the contemporary composers later take up and develop in their homages...for me it was Alexander L’Estrange’s Show me, deare Christ that made the biggest impact.”

The Guardian

17th April 2016


“In bold projects like this, the ever-reliable English choral tradition is renewed again.”

The Independent on Sunday

14th February 2016

“a musical comet … you’ll go a long way to hear singing this good. Truly, this is British choral music’s new golden age.”

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