Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

Choral Music by Nicholas Maw

Three Hymns
Five Epigrams
The angel Gabriel
Our Lady’s song
Corpus Christi CarolSwete Jesu
Five Irish Songs
One foot in Eden still, I stand

Schola Cantorum of Oxford/ Mark Shepherd, Jeremy Filsell (organ) Simon Jones (piano)

Hyperion - CDA67615

Long resident in USA, Nicholas Maw's name tends to bring up memories of his gargantuan single movement Odyssey for large orchestra, which I loved, but by its nature is doomed to few performances, and the (for us unsuccessful) opera mounted at Covent Garden - - "the sprawling Sophie's Choice, which I found myself unable to admire whether at ROH or on video - (q.v. ' this long, messy opera ').

Maw's choral music collected here is quite another matter. Mostly composed for non-professionals, it aims for 'entertainment of performers and audience alike' (NM), and expects and rewards singing of the quality which this fine Oxford choir is able to provide. Fine tuning and they relish the subtle harmonies which pervade.

The pieces are concise and pointed, their chosen texts are interesting in their own right, and treated with affection and humour - in Burns 'musical sarcasm at its most cutting' (Marc Rochester).

All the words are in English, worth reading on their own, and enhanced by Maw's treatments. The booklet is a model of its kind, texts complete and in strong black on white for a change! All the singers named, as they deserve to be. I've played this CD through twice and will come back to it again.

Peter Grahame Woolf