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Thomas Lerew
Choral Journal, June 2014

Visions features a varied compilation of works solely by British composer John McCabe…Expertly recorded by maestro David Hill and the acclaimed BBC Singers, the album highlights a wide-ranging assortment of genres and texts utilized during the composer’s nearly five-decade career. The singers beautifully handle the drastically contrasting vocal colors that McCabe calls forth and show great flexibility as his music alters back and forth between rich, full, sustained phrases and short, quick, abrasive, asymmetric rhythms.

Regardless of one’s reaction to McCabe’s music, the BBC Singers, David Hill, and Iain Farrington deliver the highest level of artistry in this recording. © 2014 Choral Journal



Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, July 2013

The recordings…are aurally everything that a fine choral recording should be. The chorus, the redoubtable BBC Singers, is as perfect as one would expect in technique, tone, and expression, and David Hill…has outdone himself here in the imaginative and perceptive shaping of these choral gems. Iain Farrington provides a model of intelligent support in four of the pieces. It doesn’t get better than this. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review



Philip Greenfield
American Record Guide, July 2013

…McCabe is composing in England’s 20th Century choral tradition…What’s more, he’s pretty good at it. Nothing is less than well crafted, and every now and again the writing elicits a “wow” or two.

Few ensembles have their national idiom stamped into their musical DNA with greater oomph than the BBC Singers, so you’re in good hands there. Naxos offers fine sound plus full notes including texts… © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Terry Blain
BBC Music Magazine, March 2013

It is classy relaxation…raptly atmospheric and consummately crafted…It’s demanding listening, made easier by the superlative performances of the BBC Singers…[and] David Hill’s alert, accomplished conducting. © BBC Music Magazine



John France
MusicWeb International, February 2013

This is a handsomely presented production. The singing by the BBC Singers under David Hill is perfect. Every nuance of McCabe’s music is clear and well-defined: the words are always audible. Most of the music on this disc is a cappella; however the remainder has an organ accompaniment. I must not forget the excellent playing by Iain Farrington, who is also a composer, as well as an organist and pianist.

This disc can be recommended to anyone who appreciates modern but accessible choral music. For those listeners who only know this composer through his large-scale works such as the ballets, the Chagall Windows or Cloudcatcher Fell for brass band, this disc will be an eye-opening exploration of a facet of McCabe’s music that is little represented in the CD catalogues. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Brian Morton
Choir & Organ, January 2013

Staggeringly prolific, John McCabe continues to create work of remarkable consistency, the dramatic ebb and flow and cyclical form of his orchestral work strongly reflected in his writing for voices. The BBC Singers deliver the Three Marian Carols with affecting plainness and clear, unaffected diction. Iain Farrington brings life and atmosphere to the organ pieces, The Morning Watch, The Evening Watch and Great Lord of Lords. © 2013 Choir & Organ



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, December 2012

More than half the album album presents the BBC Singers (under David Hill) a capella. For the rest they are joined by organist Iain Farrington. They sound very good, full and center-on throughout.

McCabe seems to have a natural affinity to choral writing. The works have great “singability” and beautifully wrought part writing, from modern contrapuntal to stunning harmonic blocks that sound especially well.

This is a recording that should bring much pleasure to lovers of the choral arts, Anglophiles, and anyone who wishes to explore some gems of our time. © 2012 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2012

John McCabe is now turned sixty and has created a large portfolio of compositions that include ballet, seven symphonies and a large quantity of chamber music. Less well-known on the international scene is the sizeable quantity of choral work, the present disc being an over-view of his output through a career that started in 1964—the year we joined one another as critics—with Mary laid her child, the third of the Three Marian Carols, through almost the present day with The Lily-White Rose. If you do not discover a progression in style over those thirty-eight years, you will find a composer who superbly sets words to music, and one who can use voices in a way where you never miss or want an accompaniment. The major work, lasting not far short of half and hour, is the Mangan Triptych, its composition spread over four years, the words taken from the Dublin-born poet, James Clarence Mangan. Often a powerful utterance, the order of the three songs is left to the performers. It is here followed by a group of eight songs expressing a very diverse range of moods, but each making for very attractive listening, my own favourite being the haunting The Evening Watch. They are performed by the BBC Singers, one of the nation’s most undervalued music organisations, the sheer professionalism they offer over a wide range of music performed each year being remarkable. With intonation in the centre of every note, they offer, together with their Musical Director, David Hill, performances to treasure, the BBC recording a model for other choral recordings to follow. © 2012 David’s Review Corner






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4:48:36 PM, 29 July 2014
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