Weir embeds herself deeply within every text she sets, and she chooses carefully.Stephen Pettitt, Sunday Times, 8/28/2011
Music for choirs - varied, immediate, sparklingly inventive - has been a mainstay of Judith Weir's career since the 1980s. This imeccably-performed disc...displays her gifts to best advantage. From the dense chords of 'Prayer' [from Vertue] to the elliptical effects of 'Ascending into Heaven' and the folks colours of 'Madrigal', composer and choir alike excel. Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 8/28/2011
This is predominantly accessible, tonal music – but there’s never any sense of Weir copping out and taking the easy route. The best things here are the miniatures – a fantastically clever a cappella setting of William Blake’s My Guardian Angel compressed into barely two minutes, its simple Alleluia chant overlaid with increasingly rich part-writing. There’s an enchanting setting of three e e cummings poems, composed for a young people’s choir in New York – Weir’s choice of marimba for the accompaniment a perfect choice. Her Psalm 148 was one of a number of contemporary psalms commissioned for performance in 2009 – a stipulation being that a single instrument accompanied. Weir boldly chose solo trombone, played here by Matthew Knight. Again, it works magnificently – sounding assertive and sonorous, bouncing around the resonant acoustic of Jesus College Chapel.
Ascending into Heaven is one of the longer pieces here. It’s more self-consciously virtuosic – the upward trajectory of Weir’s 10th-century text traced by organ flurries and immaculately sung choral glissandi, performed here with staggering accuracy and palpable humour. Madrigal begins as a chunk of pastiche plainchant before it seamlessly slips into the 21st century.
Graham Rickson, theartsdesk.com, 10/1/2011
The pieces in the collection range across a quarter of a century - the earliest, Ascending into Heaven, was composed for the St Alban's Organ festival in 1983 - but what they all have in common is the wonderful clarity of Weir's choral writing and the cool lucidity and economy of her harmonic world. Every syllable of the text is distinct in these performances, and the textures never waste a note. It's a beautifully crafted body of work, a model of choral understatement that other contemporary British choral composers could well learn from.Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 10/7/2011
A wide-ranging collection of vocal works that showcases Weir's consistently inventive ear for text and texture. Her e e cummings Christmas garland 'little tree', for example, precisely captures the source's whimsy and wonder, beguiling the ear with marimba accompaniment.Guy Weatherall, Classical Music Magazine, 10/8/2011