I saw the Lord
Programme and performances are admirable; recording is a trifle dull. It may be simply a matter of distance from the choir: it is not always easy to pick up the words, for instance, and yet these are not singers who would be careless over articulation. Similarly there are occasions when the organ should be more of a presence, yet I doubt whether the organist is being particularly reticent. Balance, brightness and immediacy probably need more attention as priorities for recording.
Nothing is wrong with the balance of the choir itself. These are skilful, well-trained singers who use their ears and are scrupulous over matters of texture and intonation. Their sopranos have the purity and much of the special timbre of trebles and they blend well with the male altos. There is a good robust quality among the basses, and the tenors, light as they are, can sing out effectively when required. All of these attributes distinguish their performance of ''How lovely are thy dwellings'' from Brahms's Requiem: gracefully sung and played throughout, its climax at ''They praise Thy name'' is vigorous yet unforced, and the cascade-sequence in the soprano and alto parts could hardly be better. Soloists, drawn from the choir, all do well, especially Ghislaine Morgan in the ''Laudate Dominum''.
Robert Jones's direction secures alert, purposeful performances, so that I saw the Lord has a spring in its stride and Howells's Collegium regale Evening Service (which has been known to flounder) is kept moving. William Harris's fine setting of Donne's prayer beginning