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A divine delivery of heaven-sent music from the Sixteen and Harry Christophers and his choir.
Composer: Tarik O’Regan, Roderick Williams, Ruth Byrchmore
Repertoire: O Guiding Night
Artists: The Sixteen, Harry Christophers
Label: Coro 16090
The Music: For its second Genesis Foundation collaboration, the Sixteen commissioned six new choral works to two poems by St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross. The choice of composers and their responses to these mystical texts prove inspired.
The Performance: I defy anyone to play O Guiding Night, the album and Roderick Williams’s eponymous composition, as ‘background music’. Thanks to the visceral commitment of Harry Christophers and his choir, and the refulgent beauty of the music, the listener will connect body and soul with these sensuous performances. It’s hard not to be moved by the wholehearted expression and emotionally engaging styles of each composer’s work, especially given the passion of the music making here.
The Verdict: I’ve already added O Guiding Night to my long list of Desert Island Discs. Tarik O’Regan’s Beloved, All Things Ceased, with its hypnotic hockets and ecstatic outbursts, and Byrchmore’s The Dark Night intensify the album’s sublime qualities, while Williams’ O Adonai rounds it off with a timeless prayer.