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Lindsay Koob
American Record Guide, November 2013

What a choir! This band of sublime singers lays convincing claim to any choral virtue you can name. The solo voices (Miranda Laurence and Susanna Fairbairn) perform superbly, and trumpeter Robert Vanryne’s tone is soft and buttery. Sound and booklet quality are beyond reproach. Non-stop musical suffering and breast-beating notwithstanding, this is an album any sacred choral fan will cherish. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




John Quinn
MusicWeb International, September 2013

The first thing that commends this disc to me is the imagination behind the programming. The second thing that commends the disc is the quality of the singing, which is uniformly high.

With his Tallis Scholars credentials Christopher Watson seems right at home in this repertoire and Sospiri’s performance is a very good one.

…an extremely enterprising and consistently well sung programme. The singers of Sospiri blend well together and produce a set of polished and accomplished performances. The sound of the choir is bright and fresh. The recording is clear and pleasing; I imagine the French church where the recording was made has a lovely, natural resonance.

…this present release advertises the credentials of Sospiri most impressively. © MusicWeb International Read complete review



Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, September 2013

The centrepiece is the triptych by John Duggan…Susanna Fairbairn and Robert Vanryne duet sweetly in the first ‘panel’; the second is even more striking, the soprano soaring over the women’s chorus.

The Lamentations by the early 16th-century Dominique Phinot is mightily pleasing in its balance and variety of texture. Another high point is John Mundy’s De Lamentatione, reconstructed by Francis Steele and full of glorious harmonic clashes. Christopher Watson and Sospiri do it proud. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Joshua Rosenblum
Opera News, September 2013

It’s illuminating to hear the breadth of musical response the same ancient texts have elicited over the centuries. The perfect, ringing intonation and velvety vocal timbres of Sospiri under Christopher Watson’s assured, versatile leadership go a long way toward making this a very gratifying listening experience. © 2013 Opera News



Brian Wigman
Classical Net, June 2013

I already raved about Elora’s latest disc of psalms and motets, but this program is more ambitious still. Over an hour of music revolving around the Lamentations of Jeremiah, with one of Britain’s finest new choirs and two new pieces just for this project? Yes, please!

The choir has an absolutely stunning sound, aided by the marvelous acoustic provided while recording in France. The results are of the highest quality. If you love choral music, you’ll love this. © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review




Choir & Organ, May 2013

Over the centuries, texts taken from the Lamentations of Jeremiah have inspired many composers, and this is no exception. Whether the lament is for Jerusalem or Dresden (post-second world war), whether it is displayed by a rich harmonic texture, an intricate polyphony, the lean sparseness of Britten and Cecilia McDowall or the mysticism of Vaughan Williams, each setting is unique. The intensity and beauty never falter when interpreted by this exceptional group of singers under Christopher Watson and the two outstanding soloists. Making up the programme are settings by Casals, Phinot, Ortiz, Mundy, Mauersberger and John Duggan, who adds a remembrance-like trumpet to this settings, giving added nuance to the text. Lamentations is a memorable recording. © 2013 Choir & Organ



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2013

Music inspired by The Lamentations of Jeremiah by composers from the 16th century to the present day and sung by a UK choir based in Oxford. The sadness that the literary work contains has drawn a very different response from composers, the most extensive on the disc coming from Dominique Phinot who sets the first eight verses from the Fifth Book. It is scored for double choir with voices weaving a beautiful contrapuntal texture that feels both weighty and solid in its plea to God. At the other end of the time spectrum we come to three Lamentations from the British composer, John Duggan. He has the unusual thought of introducing a solo trumpet to bring a ‘voice’ of different tamber to the vocal group. The inherent grief of the words he selects are somewhat offset by the beauty of the voices of Sospiri, a group that grew out of young singers at Magdalen College in Oxford. Founded by Duggan and the director of the disc, Christopher Watson, they number twenty-five with almost equal male and female voices. Though they pass through many eras - the Vaughan Williams work, O vos omnes, and Rudolf Mauersberger’s Wie liegt die Stadt so wust being the ones that particularly successful - they do not try to change their natural sound quality slanted towards those ethereal high sopranos beloved of today’s British vocal groups. Intonation is very true and pure, and I guess the disc is going to win a lot of critical acclaim. France seems a long way to go to make a recording, but it is of excellent quality. © David’s Review Corner






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7:47:17 PM, 27 August 2014
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