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

Giles Swayne: Stabat mater
Magnificat I, Op. 33
The silent land, Op. 70
Ave verum corpus, Op. 94
trad.: Senegalese Song - O Lulum
(archival sound recording, 1982)

Sophie Bevan (soprano), Kate Symonds-Joy (mezzo-soprano), Ben Alden (tenor), Jonathan Sells (bass) & Raphael Wallfisch (cello)
The Dmitri Ensemble/Graham Ross

Naxos 8.572595

A hugely impressive and inspiring choral disc, with "striking echoes of Latin plainchant, Tudor polyphony and traditional African music providing contrasting and complementary strands characteristic of this much-travelled composer."

Giles Swayne's The silent land for cello and 40 voices has the cellist as "the individual soul", an 8-part semichorus as the grieving family and a 32-part choir 'the wider community'; a rich and moving setting of Dylan Thomas, R L Stevenson etc.

It reminded me, in anticipation, of Nystedt's Stabat Mater (1968) heard at Zurich*. I wonder if Giles Swayne knows it?

Swayne's own Stabat mater Op. 95 is a magnum opus, 36 mins long, for "the grieving mothers of Israel and Palestine".

A combination of those three would make for a magnificent concert experience.

An important CD which will have something to engage the interest and deeper feelings of every listener.

Peter Grahame Woolf

* See TwoStabatMaters_in_Zurich.htm Stabat Mater (1968) by Norwegian composer Knut Nystedt (b.1915), a veritable 17 mins cello concerto with choir, is a rare example of an unusual and fruitful genre. A moving representation of the emotions depicted in the familiar text, the cello's impassioned utterances are supported by the choir treated homophonically in evocative harmony; it must be wonderful to sing and was quite glorious heard in Zurich Fraum√ľnster's perfect acoustics, resonant yet clear.

Photo Alice Williamson; I like it because I'm always taking my glasses on and off... [PGW]