GÓRECKI Choral Music
There is only one serious problem with this choir – it has the word ‘Youth’ in its name. It may merely be stating an undeniable truth but the word sets up all manner of preconceptions which rather get in the way of objective assessment. The fact is that the quality of the individual voices, their complete skill in the art of choral singing and the mature musicianship evident across the choir would make this exceptional in any context.
So, forgetting that none of these singers is aged over 22 and that much of this repertoire has previously been recorded by such eminent choirs as The Sixteen (Decca), the Gabrieli Consort (DG), the Polish National Radio Choir (Phaedra), the Chicago Symphony Chorus (Nonesuch) and the Holst Singers (Hyperion), my purely critical response is that this is fabulous. It counts among the most assured, compelling and intuitive recordings yet of Górecki’s choral music.
Two items are new to the catalogues – Lobgesang and Salve, sidus Polonorum – and while neither was written for this choir, the sheer mass of sound, the lavish textural richness and the often dazzling luminosity Mike Brewer draws from the National Youth Choir of Great Britain lead to performances of consummate authority which have about them the authentic stamp of Górecki’s sound world.
Over the well-trodden ground of Totus tuus, this choir again astounds not only with glorious opulence of tone but in the utter conviction and intuitive grasp of the idiom which they reveal. Add to that a really splendid recording from the chapel of Merton College, Oxford, and we have an impressive disc by anybody’s standards.