A second disc from new chamber choir Consortium, who were acclaimed for their disc of Brahms’s secular partsongs.
Although Reger’s music has partly recovered from its deeply unfashionable reputation, much of this prolific composer’s work still remains underperformed. This disc offers a chance to redress the balance, both by bringing to light an aspect of Reger’s output that has been relatively neglected, and by demonstrating that the important influences on him were not just musical but literary. Like his near contemporaries, Mahler, Strauss, Wolf and Zemlinsky, Reger responded deeply and imaginatively to the German Romantic poetic tradition. The works recorded here set many of the same poets (and even some of the same poems) that were popular among his colleagues, with a sensitivity and intuitive understanding that belie Reger’s reputation for stodgy academicism. Richard Stokes’s comment, that ‘Reger does not always lose out in comparison’ (when he and Strauss set the same texts as Lieder), could apply equally well to his choral music.
[Consortium] may not have sanded down all the rough edges in terms of blend and tone but their singing is sensitive and technically impressive. Andrew-John Smith draws from them an infinitely subtle dynamic range and some impeccably moulded phrasing which certainly serves Reger uncommonly well. One suspects this repertoire could have found no finer exponents to bring it to public attention. Gramophone
These wistful, autumnal choral works...caress the ear - and the soul...Consortium, a London-based professional choir, provides admirable performances of this sometimes tricky music...The accompanist, Christopher Glynn, acquits himself sensitively...A release with very considerable virtues, then. Int. Record Review
The performances are fine indeed, but more than anything, it's the music itself that strikes you - it's both utterly unique and breathtakingly beautiful...Andrew-John Smith's group are perfectly suited to it. The voices blend well but are never overly polite; this is passionate rather than devotional, and you sense the fine gradations of the composer's intensity. Classic fm *****