Vigilate! in The Guardian

The Guardian, 25th May 2014


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'Exceptional intensity from John Eliot Gardiner.'

As John Eliot Gardiner's superb choir celebrates its half-century, this wide-ranging collection of English polyphony conjures up a time of political dissension and religious turmoil. As Kerry McCarthy's excellent note suggests, the composers responded with "unfailing creativity", from the sustained grief of Robert White's Lamentations to the bitter reflections of betrayal in Byrd's Civitas sancti tui. Gardiner says he has known some of these pieces since childhood and he brings an exceptional intensity and power to them, while adding some that are less well-known: Tomkins's Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, is a forgotten masterpiece. Do difficult times create great music?

By Nicholas Kenyon

Read review on The Guardian website