Church musicians, especially of the Anglican/Episcopal persuasion, should be happy that there's at least one person out there writing first-rate, functional, and very accessible (in the best sense) anthems and service music–music that dedicated, competent choirs and organists can perform to a high standard. Some listeners may recognize Grayston Ives (nom de plume of Bill Ives) for his years (in the 1980s) with the King's Singers where he both sang and contributed as an arranger.
One of the most important missions of the work of the 441 Hz Chamber Choir is performing and promoting contemporary choral music. On a daily basis, the ensemble, under the direction of Anna Wilczewska, carries out a busy concert schedule, performing mainly contemporary music repertoire. This album is a presentation of contemporary choral music originating from countries of the North, mainly from Scandinavia. The album is filled with the diversity of creative inspiration, free references to the folklore, customs and savage northern nature, and originality of the compositional techniques. All this contributes to a broad musical panorama constructed from the works of eleven composers, which, despite this fact, constitutes a coherent, homogeneous whole, which is brilliantly performed by the ensemble.
Using some of the finest early-music soloists of the day, Parrott and his forces give posterity a recording that welds tightly focused emotion to a laudable and uncommon feel for the music. The soloists produce appropriately light but well-focused tone and display an ability to negotiate the intricacies of Handel’s notes evenly and with an exceptional grasp of the phrasing required for successful performance. The choral lines are carefully etched and meticulously balanced, resulting in a superlative overall sound that—in spite of the small choir—is rich and capable of exceeding power when required.
Parrott's decision to perform this selection of Vivaldi's sacred music with sopranos and altos shows how the all-female forces of La Pietà might have coped with tenor and bass lines. Delectable performances in superior sound.— BBC Music Magazine
'Annunciations' celebrates Sir James MacMillan's ongoing contributions to sacred music, performed by St Salvator's Chapel Choir. Alongside five of his own pieces, the album includes works by two decisive influences on MacMillan, Benjamin Britten and Kenneth Leighton; two significant contemporaries, John Tavener and Judith Bingham; and six next generation composers mentored by Sir James on the TheoArtistry Composers' Scheme, a collaboration between ITIA (the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts), the Music Centre, and St Salvator's Chapel Choir, in the University of St Andrews.