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Ešenvalds - Northern Lights - BBC Music Magazine

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One of the chief pleasures of this CD is right at the beginning—the silvery duetting of Rachel Ambrose Evans and Hannah Partridge, sopranos in Trinity College Choir, in Ēriks Ešenvalds’s O salutaris hostias. Their fluid delivery of the little grace notes is delectable, and Stephen Layton secures a perfect balance with the choir in the background.

Ešenvalds’s music , if not quite easy listening, is certainly audience-friendly. Even in the aggressive plaint against the world of day which opens The new moon the idiom is staunchly tonal, and in its second half the piece melts into a caressing lyricism, and has tuned wine glasses and chimes drizzled on it.

Some of the music here dates from Ešenvalds’s recent stint as Fellow Commoner at Trinity, including the abstemious Psalm 67—where there’s more solid solo work from bass Michael Craddock—and the Te Deum, where the trombones and trumpets of Trinity Brass buffet the robust choral writing.

Half a dozen other singers step forward impressively from the pews to do solo duty in the other pieces underlining what a force the Trinity choir has become, and the strength in-depth it has developed, in the first eight years of Stephen Layton’s directorship.

Terry Blain

Ešenvalds - Northern Lights
Hyperion Records CDA68083