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John France
British Classical Music: The Land of Lost Content, December 2013

The CD is well-produced. This is an engaging collection of folk songs that covers a considerable range of mood and musical style. Yet every piece is attractive, easily approachable and totally effective in the setting of their texts. © 2013 British Classical Music: The Land of Lost Content Read complete review



John Quinn
MusicWeb International, October 2013

I first encountered Hilary Campbell and her chamber choir, Blossom Street, with their Christmas disc, Sleep, Holy Babe…For their second, equally enjoyable Naxos entry they turn their attention to arrangements of British folk songs.

Grainger’s arrangement of a traditional Scottish tune is tender and touching; there’s just enough spice in the harmonies to make for interesting listening without overwhelming the fragile tune. This is given one of the best performances on the disc and Hilary Campbell shapes it really well.

The singing of Blossom Street gives much pleasure…the sound is consistently fresh and well-balanced. They have been recorded in a church acoustic which has good natural resonance…this is a well sung disc containing some interesting arrangements of the type that one hears too infrequently. It makes for enjoyable listening. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, September 2013

Down by the Sea is a collection of folk and folk-like songs with a nautical theme, all about sailors and whalers and often the girls they left behind. The choir sing it like angels. Not only is there a remarkable smoothness to their presentation, there is a commendable integration of voices. The singers combine as one, strong and flexible, never losing focus. The four sections of the choir come through splendidly, each a distinct segment of the whole but with such seamlessness that you never notice them as separate entities unless forcing yourself to do so. © 2013 Classical Candor Read complete review



Edward Greenfield
Gramophone, September 2013

The ensemble’s second disc for Naxos, a collection of British folksongs, is far from conventional, starting as it does with a lovely setting of a Scottish folksong, ‘Lassie wad ye loe me’…Judith Bingham’s setting of an Appalachian folksong ‘The Orphan Girl’ is then tenderly lyrical, starting with a soprano solo. It is some indication of the quality of the 23 singers in Blossom Street that all the solos are outstanding, pure and true.

…the conductor, Hilary Campbell, offers a crisp setting of the favourite Northumbrian folksong ‘Blow the wind southerly’.

…the recording is excellent, vivid and immediate with a nice feeling of atmosphere. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Norman Lebrecht
Sinfini Music, July 2013

At the risk of prejudicing any latecomers and with 2013 barely half gone, I declare this release to be my choral album of the year. I’d be stupefied if anything stronger comes long. 

Wrap your ears around Judith Bingham’s ‘The Orphan Girl’ and marvel at her ingenious harmonies. John Duggan’s ‘Over the Moon’ puts you right there: into the blue beyond. Hilary Campbell’s setting of ‘Blow the Wind Southerly’ drags the old ditty two generations away from Ferrier’s hand-crafted, perilous simplicities to an era of faceless industrial fishing. Campbell is the conductor here of the professional chamber choir, Blossom Street. 

The standout track is James MacMillan’s ‘Lassie, Wad Ye Loe Me?’, a Scottish maiden’s misty dirge with a defiant undertone. I shall be singing it in the shower all next week, and inviting friends to join. Terrific stuff. © Sinfini Music Read complete version



David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2013

Though folksong has been a fruitful ingredient of British culture from time immemorial, its use in classical choral music only came to life in the 20th century. Sea-shanties were always a fertile source of inspiration, the present disc containing 15 tracks of music largely associated with the sea, and composed by many of the most famous British-born composers. But don’t expect to ‘sing along’ with the disc, as these are not, in the main, folksongs you will instantly recognise, and intermingled are some by lesser-known names including an arrangement of Blow the Wind Southerly by the disc’s conductor, Hilary Campbell. What the disc does offer are beautifully performed works including Judith Bingham’s The Orphan Girl; an English translation of Gustav Holst’s setting of a Welsh folk song Trymder, and Ernest Moeran’s adaptation of the Norfolk song, The Sailor and Young Nancy. The performances come from Blossom Street, a medium sized choir of twenty-three voices originally formed by undergraduate singers at the University of York. Busy in the concert hall and in radio broadcasts, they are a well-balanced group that thankfully avoid the ‘hooty’ sopranos that have become fashionable in highly promoted British ensembles. The recording has been made in a reverberant church acoustic. © 2013 David’s Review Corner






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3:01:13 AM, 21 October 2014
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