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The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge at Frankfurt Cathedral, July 2023

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“There was an immediate sense of something exquisite and halo-ed at the concert by the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge. The opening chord and the opening syllables of Byrd’s five-part motet ‘Justorum anime’ transmitted those qualities which have made this Choir into one of the world’ leading ensembles: microscopically pure intonation, and absolute homogeneity within each vocal part, all joining together into a finely-polished, richly facetted whole.

The sound which spread out into the nave and transepts from the crossing of the Frankfurt imperial cathedral did not wear itself out in purely technical precision. In fact this aspect of the sound receded after a few moments, to be taken up, as it were, into the lucid discourse of the programme’s sympathetically-linked works. Themes of death and mortality were there, along with questions of life after death. Rich comparisons offered themselves between Byrd’s stern Latin settings and Stanford’s romantic outpouring.

The motets proceeded with small, well-considered steps to the programme’s musically and substantially central work. The Choir was able to movingly convey the consolatory facets of Duruflé’s Opus 9 Requiem. Fauré’s influence shone through, with both composers steering clear of the scenes of terror in the ‘Dies Irae’ (day of wrath). Under Stephen Layton’s direction, the young choir achieved a superabundant artistic success.”

Ulrich Boller