Gothic Voices - Mary Star Of The Sea - Gramophone

Priorities in terms of blend are wholly different for the four instruments of Gothic Voices, who present a programme of Marian solo and ensemble pieces from the medieval period spliced with works by Joanne Metcalfe and Andrew Smith. It's fascinating how Smith picks up on the harmonic DNA of those ancient pieces while tapping a different harmonic language; the disc's highlight comes when his setting of Stond wel, Moder under rode follows the anonymous 13th-century setting of the same text, each piece supercharged with the ensemble's raw, intense but poetic style founded on the very basics of vocal communication. This was a time before blend and vowel harmony as we know them, and Gothic Voices tell us how and why.

Gramophone
01 November 2016