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Krishan Oberoi
American Record Guide, May 2018

Hamilton conducts the Rosenau Sinfonia and Cantoribus, a London-based professional choir of mostly operatic voices. He elicits committed performances from his forces, and the soloists are excellent. Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston shines; her powerful intonation of the Agnus Dei is one of the high points. Johnston’s versatile instrument conveys both the tenderness and the drama in this familiar plea for clemency. Also notable is tenor Nicky Spence, whose warm and rounded tone is perfectly suited to Hamilton’s lustrous compositional language. Soprano Ilona Domnich and Baritone David Stout complete the quartet of soloists; the latter gives a supple and resonant reading of the ‘Pie Jesu’, set here for baritone solo.

The Rosenau Sinfonia is polished and convincing, especially in the Requiem’s one instrumental movement, the interlude ‘Lest We Forget’. The singers of Cantoribus bring impressive depth to the score, handling the homophonic choral textures with ease—indeed, one wishes that the composer had given these accomplished artists slightly more challenging material. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Steven Whitehead
Cross Rhythms, May 2018

The musicians on display are all first rate, including four operatic soloists in Ilona Domnich (soprano), Jennifer Johnston (mezzo-soprano), Nicky Spencer (tenor) and David Stout (baritone) and the four are more than adequately supported by the choir Cantoribus along with the Rosenau Sinfonia. © 2018 Cross Rhythms Read complete review




Jim Westhead
MusicWeb International, December 2017

I have not heard any other works by him [Timothy Hamilton], but if this work is anything to go by, his style is traditionally tonal and melodic. …and I hope that this requiem will become popular—it certainly deserves to be. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Jerobear
Review Corner, December 2017

Requiem draws inspiration from the Roman liturgy and aims to conjure up a sequence of images reflecting on the horror of war and the calmness after a battle, with moments of reflection.

The piece opens with the Prelude, a short voluntary to establish mood. A choir sombrely sings and the opening notes, played by the French horn are reminiscent of the Last Post. The next movement, Introit, introduces the first section of the requiem mass, a soprano soloist offering a prayer for the souls of the fallen.

The Warrior’s Psalm is a setting, to Anglican chant, of Psalm 91, which was read to soldiers on the eve of battle by military chaplains, recited daily by the 91st Infantry Brigade of the US Expeditionary Army throughout WWI.

Later on, Libera Me is dramatically distinctly martial and represents a battle charge with the soldiers going “over the top”, the heat of battle giving way to a reflective prayer. It all ends gently, leaving an image of war graves disappearing into the distance. © 2017 Review Corner Read complete review




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, December 2017

Timothy Hamilton’s Requiem mass is not neo-Romantic, nor neoclassic: it is a work in pure late 19th century style. What you’ll think of it may depend on your attitude toward the style in general, but, this said, the work treats its text in an original way and does not have the flavor of slavish imitation of anything or anybody. Start with the performance itself, with Hamilton himself conducting the Rosenau Sinfonia, a festival ensemble, and the composer’s handpicked choir Cantoribus. The ad hoc nature of these forces, gathered for the live premiere of the work in 2015 and reassembled for this recording a few days later at the acoustically impressive St-Jude-on-the-Hill Church, allows Hamilton to avoid the weight of the British choral tradition and shape the music to his own needs. And so he does: his choral sopranos ripple with vibrato, and his fine quartet of soloists is positively operatic. The performance reflects a great deal of care. Marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, this is a requiem mass with no “Dies irae,” but with a distinctly military “Libera me.” The overall mood is calm, contemplative, and often evocative of the silence of the battlefield after a clash. © 2017 AllMusic.com Read complete review



Records International, December 2017

The Pie Jesu is sung by the baritone, suggesting a prayer for a fallen comrade, then the drums of battle announce the Libera me, tense and dramatic and the closest the work comes to invoking the day of judgment. A radiant In Paradisum brings the work to a consoling and uplifting conclusion. © 2017 Records International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2017

Turn the clock back to the mid-part of the Twentieth century, and you have the genesis for this new Requiem from the British composer, Timothy Hamilton. He relates that he has taken war as the theme of the score, the military side-drum rattle in the Sanctus, Benedictus and the dramatic Libera me, being the orchestral contribution to that theme. For the remainder of the score it is largely an act of remembrance in an essentially quiet and sombre mood, relying on the normal church musical presentation of Psalm 91. In today’s world it has all of the ingredients for success, as audiences look back to the days when they listened to melody and tonality. In twelve parts it is essentially based on the traditional Requiem Mass of the Roman liturgy, but without any reference to the mood of the Dies Irae. It was first performed in November 2015 with the performers on this recording that was made a few days afterwards. The line-up is impressive with Ilona Domnich, Jennifer Johnston, Nicky Spence and David Stout as the solo quartet; the choral group, Cantoribus, founded by Hamilton five years ago, and the London-based Rosenau Sinfonia providing the warmth the score calls for. The composer conducts, and the performance is obviously of very high quality, Cantoribus among today’s finest young British vocal ensembles. The recording quality is in every way superb, with a perfect balance between the various performers. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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