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New Judith Bingham Choral Disc On Signum Classics

10/02/2009
'Remoter Worlds': BBC Singers
Signum Records has released a new disc featuring Judith Bingham's choral works. Recorded by the BBC Singers under David Hill, 'Remoter Worlds' brings together a collection of works showcasing the results of Bingham's four-year 'Associate Composer' tenure with the Singers. For full details on buying 'Remoter World's please visit
Signum Records website.

Listen on itunes David

'Shimmering performances of music by one of Britain's best choral composers'.

Judith Bingham's discography is slowly catching up with her increasingly impressive body of work. Unsurprisingly, the releases to date have concentrated on her choral music and it is heartening to see the BBC Singers - with whom she sang as a permanent member for 12 years and has been Associate Composer for the past four - perform a whole disc's worth of repertoire mostly unavailable otherwise.

The one work that is duplicated is The Shepheardes Calendar, a triptych written in 2006 for the St Louis Chamber Choir and recorded by them the following year. Polished and refined as their account was, this new performance is better still, with greater bite and drive. There is more expressive resonance to the central setting of Psalm 23 (in variant textual version) and the opening Winter is much icier as befits the words. Unpredictable but Providential is a delightful skit on Elizabethan word setting and Beneath these Alien Stars (2001) like the larger Ghost Towns of the American West (2005), sets poems by the Mormon poet Vesta Pearce Crawford.

The major item is Irish Tenebrae (1990, rev 1992 and 2007), a remarkable cantata in seven sections for solo and choral voices, violin, organ and percussion Inspired by the composer's part-Irish orgins, the Troubles and a love of Irish folksong, the work is a tremendous achievement, Britten-like in its range and variety - and expressive acuity - yet distinctly Binghamian in its sound (though quite unlike its couplings). The performances by all concerned are superb, from the opening of Gleams of a remoter world (1997) and Water Lilies (1999) to the larger pieces. Strongly recommended.

Guy Rickards, The Gramophone, March 2009.
 

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