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Guy Weatherall
Classical Music, September 2019

Ranging from the ravishingly beautiful (Skempton’s Rise up my love), via the minimalist (Riley and Reich, including an ingenious vocal arrangement of Clapping Music) to the more challenging (Michael Gordon and Pablo Ortiz), Hillier’s collection is a true labour of love. It was recorded over the course of ten years and his advocacy and the commitment of this world-class ensemble do the project proud. This imaginative and generous project is afforded fine recorded sound, interesting notes and sung texts. © 2019 Classical Music



Philip Greenfield
American Record Guide, September 2017

The singing is impeccable, so if sheer choral excellence is your thing this will appeal to you. I must say, though, that a lot of this music is not especially compelling or endearing.

Howard Skempton’s music is lovely, especially ‘More Sweet Than My Refrain’. I also admire the warm, affectionate ‘Un Beau Baiser’ by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen and Gabriel Jackson’s evocations of medieval fare. David Lang’s ‘When We Were Children’ turns the words of St Paul every which way but loose, and Terry Riley’s ‘Mexico City Blues’ imparts some jazzy flair to the words of Jack Kerouac. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Uwe Krusch
Pizzicato, August 2017

The choir Ars Nova Copenhagen under Paul Hillier performs eleven choral songs from our time. …the presentation is intense and refined… © 2017 Pizzicato




Pwyll ap Siôn
Gramophone, August 2017

…much of what is heard falls under the rather amorphous description ‘post-minimal’, the range of styles is remarkably varied, from the giddy tonal glissandos heard in Michael Gordon’s He saw a skull to Pablo Ortiz’s twitchy neo-medieval Five Motets. In between there are contributions from first-generation minimalists, including a touchingly lyrical song by Louis Andriessen. Terry Riley’s exuberant, multilayered musical evocation of Jack Kerouac’s stream-of-consciousness poem ‘Mexico City Blues’ brilliantly rounds off the disc, while Reich’s well-known Clapping Music is also given an energetic melodic and harmonic twist in Hillier’s clever vocal arrangement. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Fiona Maddocks
The Guardian, July 2017

Ars Nova Copenhagen is one of the world’s top chamber vocal ensembles. This programme of choral music by nine diverse contemporary composers, including Louis Andriessen, Steve Reich, Terry Riley and David Lang, is unified by one man: British conductor/director Paul Hillier. …The 12 singers of Ars Nova are immaculate throughout. © 2017 The Guardian Read complete review



Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), June 2017

Denmark’s Ars Nova Copenhagen has built an immovable reputation as one of the world’s most versatile and inventive vocal ensembles. “First Drop” is testament to that spirit—it’s a wide-ranging and ambitious project that interprets the choral work of some of the giants of contemporary classical music, including Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Louis Andriessen, Michael Gordon, David Lang and more. © 2017 WFMT (Chicago)



Lark Reviews, May 2017

The CD opens with an unaccompanied setting of Rise up my love by Howard Skempton. It is a disarmingly welcoming introduction to a cd which ranges widely from the intensity of Gordon’s he saw a skull to a vocal arrangement of Steve Reich’s Clapping Music for voices—both superbly done. Alongside these are works by Terry Riley, David Lang and Kevin Volans. Worth seeking out. © 2017 Lark Reviews





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