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Penguin Guide, January 2009

The present inexpensive recording by Christopher Robinson and the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge, makes an excellent entry point into Rubbra’s sacred music. The Missa Cantuariensis was composed for Canterbury Cathedral, whereas the Missa in honorem Sancti Dominici (1948) was written for the Catholic Rite. Both are crafted beautifully and elevated in feeling. The first Nocturn (which comprises three motets) of the Tenebrae was written in 1951, and a further two Nocturns followed ten years later. They are anguished and eloquent expressions of faith. This deeply satisfying recording is completed by the Meditation for organ, which was written for James Dalton, and Bernard Rose’s transcription of the Prelude and Fugue on a Theme of Cyril Scott, a seventieth-birthday tribute to Rubbra’s first teacher. The performances are quite outstanding and well recorded.

Brian Hunt
The Daily Telegraph (Australia), June 2001

"The music here is vividly expressive of the spiritual journey of Edmund Rubbra, the English composer whose centenary year this is. The Magnificat and the Missa Cantuariensis are from his earlier Anglican period, and are robust but yearningly passionate. The other choral works are Latin settings; written after he turned to Catholicism.

It is all superb music, in an idiom that keeps a close relationship with tonality while preserving the composer's freedom to he individual and exploratory. The Choir of St. John's has a more human than ethereal sound, but that seems to complement the appealing sincerity of Rubbra's work. The booklet essay by Andrew Carwood is fascinating, the recorded sound exemplary, and two well-placed short works for organ add to the appeal. Warmly recommend."

Gary Higginson
BMS News, June 2001

"At the rehearsals of the Tenebrae Motets (1951/62) the choir was apparently deeply moved by the music. I must say that they respond very well to these austere settings. In an interview Christopher Robinson remarks that 'the harmonies arise. From the intricate weave of contrapuntal lines' which is typical of Rubbra...To sum up: There are no new choral works here added to the catalogue but it is worth investing the modest amount of £5 as the choir is in excellent form and the music is superbly handled and clearly and evocatively recorded. Another gem in this Rubbra centenary year."

Stephen Johnson
BBC Music Magazine, April 2001

"This disc makes a stronger case for Rubbra than anything else I've heard...The St. John's choristers are excellent, and they sound as though they believe in every note. Recordings too could hardly be bettered-spacious, bright and clear (Performance & Sound *****)."

Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, April 2001

"Another winner from the Naxos/St. John's Cambridge stable-nourishing repertoire, captivated and captivating performances. Throw in Naxos' praiseworthy production-values and helpful presentation, and you have both a notably rewarding collection as well as a bargain of the first order."

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