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Lindsay Koob
American Record Guide, January 2013

Here’s a pleasant assortment of Felix Mendelssohn’s sacred music for mixed choir plus pieces for treble voices, rather nicely executed by an accomplished girls choir and their companion lay clerks (men’s voices).

Performances…are well done and enjoyable, with some exceptionally sweet-toned solo work from young Laura Hicks. Well-engineered sound and a serviceable booklet wrap up a worthwhile package. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

John Sheppard
MusicWeb International, December 2012

…generally excellent performances that are well recorded and well presented.

The best known item here—Hear my prayer—is given a very committed performance that can stand comparison with almost any. Here and throughout the disc a listener unaware of the performers would be likely simply to assume that this is a traditional cathedral choir of boys and men.

The other vocal soloist is the tenor Philip Salmon who sings the unaccompanied start of the Ave Maria with formidable strength…

There is one item for solo organ, played by Tom Winpenny; Peter Holder accompanies elsewhere where necessary. The Allegro, Chorale and Fugue is a fine piece not published in the composer’s lifetime and rarely played in concerts. This clear and energetic performance brings out its best qualities and is one of the highlights of the disc. All in all this is a refreshing, enjoyable and well filled disc which can be commended to anyone who wants to explore the composer’s choral music further. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2012

Most of Mendelssohn’s shorter choral works written in the second half of his short life were particularly for the German Protestant and the British Anglican church. In his younger years he had done much to revive interest in the field of Baroque sacred choral works, and had he not taken up the championing of Bach his music may not have survived  into the 19th century. That era formed the basis of his scores, all quite short, or built up from short sections, and were mostly well within the scope of amateur choirs that had begun to abound, particularly in Britain. In modern day terms many became ‘pop’ tunes, particularly the one for solo boy treble, Hear my prayer, while his English language oratorios were equally to be the catalyst for mass audience appreciation. But this disc opens in Berlin in 1843, four years before his death, with six unaccompanied motets intended to form part of a church service, the disc also ending there with Three Psalms composed the following year. Much else is accompanied by organ, mostly in a discrete mode…within the bounds of choir discs emanating from the UK this is highly successful and very well filled. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, October 2012

The longest piece here, and the most famous, is Hear My Prayer. For many years impossible to dissociate from the recording by Ernest Lough, it’s sung with a touching naivety by Laura Hicks. The rest of the disc consists of music for both women’s and mixed voices…The Three Motets for female voices and organ, Op 39, are performed with a pleasing freshness…

More successful are the mixed-voice pieces, where the girls are complemented by the mature voices of the lay clerks.

Best of all is the wonderful sonority of the eight-voice a cappella bookends, the Six Anthems and the setting of Psalm 43, Richte mich, Gott. And Winpenny’s organ solo is of a comparable splendour. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Roger Nichols
BBC Music Magazine, October 2012

‘On their showing here, St Albans Abbey Girls Choir can stand comparison with the best boys’ choirs, even if their sound is slightly different (if anything more human)…The gain here is that we hear Mendelssohn’s impeccable, expressive part writing, which the lay clerks clearly relish. Throughout, great care has obviously been taken over words and phrasing. The purity and steadiness of the girls’ voices are in themselves utterly delightful.’ © 2012 BBC Music Magazine

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