A fantastically atmospheric Miškinis

The Rupert Gough lead Choir of Royal Holloway College give an outstanding performance of Vytautas Miškinis' choral works

Composer:  Miškinis
Repertoire: Choral Works 
Artists: Choir of Royal Holloway College/Gough
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Vocal 
Label: Hyperion CDA 67818

The Music Lithuanian composer Vytautas Miškinis, born in 1954, has an uncanny ear for creating complex tonal textures. His poetic writing for chamber choir, intensified by panpipes in Neišek, suala (‘Don’t leave me, sun’) and dense double-choir harmonies in the Seven O Antiphons, enters realms of sublime sound colour more usually inhabited by mighty pipe organs or the orchestral works by Messiaen or Ligeti. 

The Performance Under Rupert Gough’s care since 2005, the Choir of Royal Holloway College has attained standards of musicianship and technical refinement high above the reach of most student ensembles. The clarity and translucence of Royal Holloway’s young voices, expertly trained and thoroughly prepared for this demanding job, ideally suits Miškinis’ infinitely subtle art. Gough and his choristers are outstanding in works such as Oi šala, šala, Salve regina and Dum medium silentium, exquisite in their hypnotic contrasts of sound and folk-like purity.

The Verdict Although O magnum mysterium and Pater noster arguably call for the warmth and dark-hued resonance of older voices, the atmosphere and flavour of this album consistently feel ‘right’. 

Want more? Royal Holloway Choir and Hyperion launched their collaboration with a disc of music by Latvian composer Rihards Dubra (CDA 67799), yet another creator of compelling choral works from the post-Soviet Baltic States.