Here's another welcome collection from a truly original communicator in modern British choral music. Whitbourn's interest in the compelling combination of voices and the soprano saxophone dominates here, his 2001 Son of God Mass using the instrument in improvisatory, spiritual mode to link the sections of the mass and overlay a lithe counterpoint to the choir. Similarly, in Requiem canticorum, written last year, saxophonist Jeremy Powell spreads a healing balm over the whole piece, making it a profound, consolatory experience. And there's a bonus on this disc: Whitbourn's "Winter's Wait", the terrific carol he wrote for King's College, Cambridge last Christmas.
Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian, 9/4/2011
.......a superb recording by Naxos.
Michael McManus, Gramophone, 9/1/2011
...here is music that accomplished choirs can sing, that you don’t have to be an avant-gardeist listener to pretend to enjoy, and thus, in the grand scheme of choral music, gives singers something to anticipate and savor, and listeners much to celebrate [...] Whitbourn’s Son of God Mass...is a relatively new work composed for choir, soprano saxophone, and organ. And it’s a gem, a masterpiece, a work that compels you to listen in a new way, to appreciate the saxophone sound as an integral part of the work’s structure and expressive frame [...] The rest of the works on the program...vary from significant and absorbing (Winter’s Wait; A brief story of Peter Abelard) to suitably functional (A Prayer from South Africa; All shall be Amen and Alleluia). All are well worth hearing—and repeating. Highly recommended.
David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com, 1/27/2013
Whitbourn considers the themes of the Son of God Mass a response to the sweeping vistas and astonishing landscapes of the Holy Land, taken from the BBC Documentary film...Requiem canticorum fills the heart with comfort, commemorating the dead and soothing the spirits of those with sorrow and grief. The unique pairing of the organ and soprano saxophone in the Alleluia movement allows the final iteration of ‘Requiem aeternam’ to make a clear and powerful statement of rest and resolution [...] The choral and instrumental sounds on this disc are magnificent and haunting, journeying through love, grief, faith, and rest.
Cameron F.LaBarr, Choral Journal, 2/1/2013