The intensely practical choral music of the young Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds is steadily gaining appreciation across the world. The works on this new album owe their genesis to commissions from the United States, England and northern Europe and encompass ethereal expressions of uniquely arctic phenomena (listen for wine glasses turned—and tuned—to wondrously simple but devastating effect within the choral texture), American ballads and several works in the ‘Anglican tradition’, the fruits of the composer’s recent residency at Trinity College Cambridge.
Trinity College Choir Cambridge here returns the compliment, as it were, with superlative performances of these varied and engaging works, all recorded under the watchful eye of the composer and conductor Stephen Layton.
One of the chief pleasures of this CD is right at the beginning - the silvery duetting of Rachel Ambrose Evans and Hannah Partridge...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, is not quite easy listening, is certainly audience-friendly...what a force the Trinity choir has become. BBC ****
Trinity College's choir sounds as though its members relish the experience of recording his music. The sonority is secure from top to bottom...I find Ešenvalds at his most convincing when dwelling on natural phenomena of his homeland...lovers of this corner of the choral repertoire will find here much to enjoy. Gramophone