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Paul Spicer's Easter Oratorio review

Birmingham Post 23 February 2006

Rating: Five stars

Reviewing the première of Paul Spicer's Easter Oratorio at the Lichfield Festival in July 2000, I wrote of the 'terse expressiveness' of this 'fluent score which holds no terror for those who love the English choral tradition'. I also paid tribute to its memorable melodiousness, its 'warm and consolatory' key-feeling and the clarity and vividness of its orchestral writing.

Nearly six years on from that Festival millennium commission my impressions of the music's conviction, integrity and warm-hearted approachability are reinforced by this marvellous release from Spicer's own Birmingham Bach Choir under his baton, and joined by Lichfield Cathedral Choristers and Special Choir, the English Symphony Orchestra, organist Alexander Mason and an impressive roster of soloists headed by one of the country's most exciting young sopranos, Rachel Nicholls.

Producing this double-CD has been a true labour of love from so many dedicated people, and they should be justifiably proud of the result. Performances have a palpable sense of commitment and excitement, the recording made a Hawksyard Priory, Armitage, is enfoldingly atmospheric, and the presentation of this meticulously documented package can only be described as beautiful. All that we miss from a live performance is the opportunity to join in the singing of the congregational Easter hymns.

Christopher Morley

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Easter Oratorio cover

About our Easter Oratorio CD