A wonderful sampler of music
FrKurt Messick | Bloomington, IN USA | 09/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc is a sampler of other Cambridge Singers discs. The tracks on the album were recorded at different times and places, including the regular venues for the Cambridge Singers such as the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral and the Great Hall of University College School, London.
Selections on this disc come from eight different Collegium recordings, representing a wide range of the Cambridge Singers' work. Pieces here include secular and sacred work, ancient and modern. There are a cappella and accompanied pieces. Composers represented here include Stanford, Bruckner, Verdi, Debussy, Taverner and Purcell, as well as a number of pieces by John Rutter himself. The latter pieces include the first movement of Rutter's wonderful 'Magnificat'.
Guest performers include the King's Singers and the City of London Sinfonia, Richard Baker as a narrator and Wayne Marshall on the organ.
The music is very well done; Rutter's ear for tone and balance is superb, and his building of this ensemble of singers has retained a consistent beauty and grace through the years. Their best pieces are liturgical and religious pieces, but there is a good deal of power and fun in the secular and folk songs.
The notes for this recording include the titles and words of each anthem or hymn. The notes for each piece also includes brief biographical information of the composer, and unique information about each work, when particular composers are represented more than once. One thing conspicuously missing is much biographical information about John Rutter, or any descriptive information about the Cambridge Singers apart from the most basic of information.
Rutter was born in London and educated at Clare College, Cambridge. This was where his career as a composer, arranger and conductor began. His early work was with groups at King's College Chapel at Cambridge as well as the Bath Choir and Philharmonic Orchestra. He has worked for the BBC providing music for educational series such as 'The Archaeology of the Bible Lands', until in 1979 he began forming the Cambridge Singers, and has continued a remarkable career of performance and recording as their director ever since.
--The Cambridge Singers--
The Cambridge Singers are a mixed choir of voices, many of whom were members of choir of Rutter's college, Clare College, Cambridge. While they specialise in English and Latin liturgical pieces, they have a wide range of recordings that span from modern compositions (including a remarkable requiem by Rutter) to English folk songs of the Middle Ages. Many are former members of the choir of Clare College and other Cambridge collegiate choirs (hence the name, Cambridge Singers). In the quarter-century since the founding, the Cambridge Singers have produced an impressive body of recordings.
Lean and elegant
David A. Baer | Indianapolis, IN USA | 07/25/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
This wildly eclectic anthology of well-known pieces, performed by an accomplished musical company to modest instrumental accompaniment, is a sampler of what grouped voices can accomplish under masterful directorship in the sparest of styles.
This album introduces what the Singers can do. It is held together not by genre or composer but simply by the fact that varying traditions are performed here by the group, thus the word 'Collection' in the title.
If you like what the Cambridge singers do here, you'll likely want to purchase one of their more thematically consistent albums, perhaps beginning with their Christmas album.
Choral music maintains its lively presence at Cambridge in spite of a million competing, and sometimes distracting, pressures. Perhaps it's something in the air or water of the ancient university town. Clare College, Cambridge, is the anchor of the Singers, and to be thanked for performing that role."