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Paul Mealor: I Saw Eternity

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Album Review

The Welsh choral composer Paul Mealor broke through to fame in late 2011 with "Wherever You Are," a choral setting of letters written to British military personnel in Afghanistan by their partners. The piece reached number one on Britain's pop singles chart, apparently stimulating the acquisition in 2014 by the Decca label of this group of sacred compositions, originally recorded earlier in 2011 and benefiting from the superb engineering of the original label, Linn. What you get is music in the John Rutter mode: pleasantly tonal and reverent settings of religious texts by contemporary poets. The shorter anthems are mostly for those who like to have their convictions pleasantly reaffirmed. The choral writing is often very good, and Mealor gives the trebles of the acclaimed small choir Tenebrae the chance to show what they can do in such pieces as "Blessing." Most interesting is the six-section "Crucifixus," a setting of poems by Peter Davidson describing Christ's crucifixion. The poetry is mixed with biblical passage in Latin, and the music too is a mixture: Mealor draws on a variety of sacred styles, all the way back to plainchant, but he doesn't use them in conventional ways. The result is a setting of these solemn texts that is personal and intimate in both text and music. Tenebrae, moving into crossover territory, adjust their style effectively for the more directly expressive content of this music as compared with their Renaissance repertory. Recommended for those who like Rutter and his fellow travelers in the contemporary conservative British sacred music movement.

Customer Reviews

Worth the wait

If you were a fan of Mealor's first album then the long wait for a follow up album has been worth it. Much more diverse in style but such a rich tapestry. This album may even top the first!

Biography

Formed: 2001

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A professional chamber choir formed and founded by former Westminster Cathedral chorister Nigel Short, Tenebrae made its first appearance in London in 2001. The group focused on medieval chant and renaissance pieces, but also took into account more contemporary source material for a new take on a very old sound. The group, whose members have backgrounds in some of the U.K.'s leading choral groups — the Monteverdi Choir, the choir of Westminster Abbey, and the choirs of King's College, Oxbridge,...
Full bio

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  • £7.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music, Choral, Rock
  • Released: 01 January 2014

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