Lux Memoriaque: Contemporary British Choral Works
The English vocal ensemble Harmonia Sacra was founded in 2009. They took a step forward in their commitment to contemporary music. Their repertoire includes music by John Tavener, ArvoPärt, Eric Whitacre, James MacMillan and David Bednall. Lux Memoriaque, released by the Nimbus label, is the result of an enriching relationship established between this choir and Lawrence Whitehead. In this recording we can listen to the works of Whitehead juxtaposed with others by Robert Hugill, Jonathan Lee, David Bednall and Peter Leech, who is also the director of this vocal ensemble.
It is important to emphasize that this record is dedicated to the memory of organist and composer Christopher Manners (LRAM), who died suddenly in 2013. As a director, Peter Leech (who has Australian-British nationality) has achieved international recognition since he was awarded the First Prize of the Mariele Ventre International Competition, and as a composer he has premiered several vocal works. It is notable to mention that his Requiem was commissioned by the Collegium Singers in 2011.
A great many of the pieces in this disc are world premiere recordings. With interlaced routes, the composers in the program share various points in common. Peter Leech has assembled pieces he considers to be of religious and spiritual interest, and in addition included works of many other composers who are, in one way or another, in the same artistic orbit and worlds away from triviality and lightness.
The music flows freely without the need to show anything more than itself. The performances of Harmonia Sacra correspond to the sound specificities and requirements of the works, with abundant effective nuances. Peter Leech has managed to portray many different sound worlds (ranging from unison melodies to dissonant harmonies with gently resolved cadences), sometimes at a certain poignant moment, at other times during continuous passages. This is a delightful soul-filled recording with luminosity, whose sacred texts are set to a warm and calming music. Marçal Borotau, Sonograma