A musical banquet from the Golden Age. This programme brings together a true choral landmark from the sixteenth century, with its present-day reflection, a commission by Sir James MacMillan. These two monumental, large-scale pieces bookend a ‘tasting menu’ of Renaissance works by Byrd, Tallis and many other composers. Common to them all is a link to Nonsuch Palace, arguably the location of the first performance of Spem in alium, and the centre of a rich vein of Tudor musical patronage.
BBC Music Magazine November 2020
Suzi Digby’s ORA Singers performance [of Spem], at a touch over nine minutes, is one of the f leetest on record, and boasts an expert choir whose tuning is immaculate and who munch the technical challenges of the piece for breakfast...But it is MacMillan’s Vidi aquam which makes this issue essential – it has the aura of a masterpiece about it.
(Performance) **** / (Recording) *****
Presto Classical 21st August 2020
Vidi aquam is a true masterpiece, making innovative use of the textural and spatial options that a forty-part choir offers. It shares some characteristics with the Tallis, though is by no means a mere imitation...Without the polished tones of the ORA Singers this luminous, ecstatic sound would be impossible. The sopranos are particularly impressive..The group’s ensemble, too, remains flawless even during the music’s busiest moments.
Sunday Times 23rd August 2020
Sir James MacMillan wrote his 40-part Vidi aquam for ORA Singers as a companion to Tallis’s Spem in alium. Essentially a penetrating refraction, with many a recognisable moment, the work pays affecting homage...Suzi Digby leads performances of pleasing clarity and poise.