BBC Symphony Orchestra/English Chamber Orchestra/BBC Singers/English Northern Philharmonia
These recordings make a neat survey of Robert Saxton's development in the late 1980s. The major work here is Saxton's compact two-act opera Caritas from 1991, to a libretto by Arnold Wesker based on his own play about a reluctant anchoress in 14th-century Norfolk. As always with Saxton the music is beautifully crafted, with finely drawn instrumental detail and vocal writing, especially for the main character Christine, that packs a real emotional punch. The performance (a clean, live recording from the original Opera North production) with a cast headed by Eirian Davies is surefooted and taut. The other disc contains a mixture of orchestral and choral pieces, all exploring the same idea - that of a musical progression from darkness into light. It's most starkly and strikingly realised in Music to Celebrate the Resurrection.
Andrew Clements, BBC Music Magazine, 2/1/2005