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Bob Chilcott: Requiem & other works
Composer and conductor Bob Chilcott (born 1955) has been steeped in the British choral tradition since he was a boy chorister. A former member of The King’s Singers, he is now one of the UK’s most prolific and creative choral composers, writing appealingly direct and accessible music with memorable melodies reminiscent of John Rutter at his best. Of his most recent large-scale work, his Requiem (2010), Chilcott says he was initially ‘terrified by the idea’ of writing a work with such a weight of history behind it, but he has certainly risen to the challenge: his Requiem is characterized by a gentle, forgiving atmosphere clearly modelled on Fauré’s Requiem, with a crystalline, reflective Pie Jesu for solo soprano at the emotional heart of the work. This and the other works performed here, all first recordings, are beautifully performed by Wells Cathedral Choir and Matthew Owens, The Nash Ensemble and two superb young soloists.
“His Requiem (2010), mostly set to Latin texts, pays homage to its great predecessors yet has its own distinctive, serene, meditative quality, beautifully rendered by the mixed voices of Wells Cathedral Choir, Laurie Ashworth (soprano) and Andrew Staples (tenor).” The Observer, 25th March 2012
“A listener to Chilcott’s Requiem will quickly identify that it is in the lineage of reflective, consolatory settings by such as Fauré and Duruflé...The solo writing is light and fluent and Andrew Staples, with his clear, easy tone is ideal for this assignment...Matthew Owens leads a dedicated, eloquent performance.” MusicWeb International, 12th March 2012
“Although this is music steeped in the Anglican mainstream, there is just enough of a French influence to prevent it from becoming anodyne and nebulous...The addition of a wind quartet and timpani brings a freshness and piquancy to the timbral palette...Matthew Owens draws impassioned and beautiful performances throughout this delightful disc.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2012
“Can something be too beautiful? It's a thought that struck me occasionally, listening to Bob Chilcott's new Requiem...there's plenty of fluid writing for the choir and two excellent soloists, whose interaction produces ravishing textures. By the end, however, I felt over-cosseted and in need of aural roughage...The Wells Choir attacks both pieces with evidence relish.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2012 ***
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The Seeds of Stars: Choral Music by Bob Chilcott
Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir, Bob Chilcott
Former King's Singer Bob Chilcott conducts a stellar array of his choral music, in a collaborative performance with the Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir. Described by the Observer as “a contemporary hero of British Choral Music”, Bob Chilcott works tirelessly as a composer and choral conductor - August 2012 saw the first performance of 'The Angry Planet' in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, and he has recently completed commissions for The Bach Choir, BBC Singers and National Youth Choir of Great Britain.
“The Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir...emerges extremely positively from this opening sequence. Freshness of timbre, individuality in the four voice-sections and genuine versatility of interpretative approach are major characteristics. It clearly helps to have the composer, formely a chorister of distinction, at the tiller: the performances sound absolutely secure in intent and unfussily authoritative.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2013 ****
“Gentle pastel shades rather than broad primary colours [are] the order of the day, and under Chilcott's own direction, [the choir] are clearly very much at ease with this music...overall this is a choir whose sound is too richly enticing to need anything more than pleasing music and a sympathetic recording, both of which are much in abundance on this disc.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2013
“The combination of Chilcott’s music and the Wroclaw choral sound makes for a very special disc which is sure to attract any lovers of beautiful music well sung...The singing of the Wroclaw choir is excellent throughout, creating a warm, responsive sound that is harmonious and tightly knit. Some may want more daylight between the notes, but I loved the lush texture of their singing.” MusicWeb International, November 2012
“Bob Chilcott has become a truly international figure in choral music in recent years, as this disc richly testifies, with 18 typically graceful and arresting pieces” The Observer, 9th December 2012
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