Eton Choirbook recording sessions

A few photos of yesterday’s recording session in Merton College Chapel, for the choir’s forthcoming CD, Music from the Eton Choirbook, Vol. 4.

2 replies
  1. G. Williard
    G. Williard says:

    Thrilled to see that there will be a volume 4 in the Eton Choirbook series! These performances are absolute treasures, bringing this achingly fine music to life, with the forces they were meant for. There’s an innocent, exuberant chaos in this first burst of English polyphonic writing that somehow got wrung out with further compositional development and ‘refinement’, in favor of other bonums, to be sure, but which lose something that’s specially forefronted here. I think one ‘Gramophone’ reviewer said of the Eton Choirbook ‘meandering’ – but that’s to miss the point: those wayward meanders build and recede (perhaps down to extended two-part passages, but somehow build especially in those recessions!) taking us to conclusions of anguished sweet richness. It’s a radically different aesthetic and even spirituality betokened by this music, which we can hear today but across a temporal and cultural chasm – mediated by the blessed institutional continuity that the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral exemplifies. The characteristic gentle approach, openness, and freedom of Christ Church’s singing feels like a perfect match for this richly complex, epicycle upon epicycle polyphonic writing.

  2. Dr Russell Blacker
    Dr Russell Blacker says:

    I fully agree with what G Williard says, and welcome this continuing exploration of the precious Eton repertoire – one of the glories of English music and still so much not yet in the recording catalogue. I should particularly love to have Christ Church record the two 7 part pieces by Kellyk and Sutton which are so thrilling to sing. This music is astonishing – there is nothing of comparable melodic beauty, harmonic sophistication or magisterial compositional grasp in contemporary European choral music – the fabulous Ockeghem notwithstanding. More please.


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