“The Call of Wisdom” = WILL TODD: The Lord is My Shepherd; Stay With Me, Lord; The Call of Wisdom; Man Unkind; My Lord Has Come; That We May Love Again; Vidi Speciosam; Among Angels; You Have Seen the House Built; I Sing Because… – Tenebrae/ English Ch. Orch./ Nigel Short – Signum

“The Call of Wisdom” = WILL TODD: The Lord is My Shepherd; Stay With Me, Lord; The Call of Wisdom; Man Unkind; My Lord Has Come; That We May Love Again; Vidi Speciosam; Among Angels; You Have Seen the House Built; I Sing Because… – Tenebrae/ English Chamber Orch./ Nigel Short – Signum SIGCD298, 66:46 [Distr. by Naxos] ***:

Will Todd has been called one of the UK’s “most popular and performed modern choral composers.” And that he is, without question. He has also been called a second John Rutter, and the similarities are certainly there for all to hear. This is not a man of the “mystical” school of choral composition that is so familiar today, but instead one that emphasizes pure lyricism and heart-on-sleeve emotion instead.

The music is quiet for the most part, unassuming, and highly self-indulgent in a good sense. It is what it is, and Todd makes no bones about trying to be something that he feels innately that he isn’t. But he does fall short of Rutter in pure, adulterated great melody, though there are many on this disc that I consider worthy of the mantle. I find most of the music quite acceptable, even relaxing if not quite meditative, but there is also a saccharine sentimentality that runs through much of it that becomes cloying after a while. Those more attuned to the modern English musical idiom a la Rutter et al might think differently, and Todd is anything but a bad composer. In the end it all depends on your tolerance for syrup—some people have bigger sweet teeth than others, and for many this will be just what the doctor ordered. The rest of us need some protein to balance things out.

Tenebrae, like on most of their discs, is exceptional, and the performances are first rate in every way. I searched the notes and the back of the disc for information on where this was recorded, to no avail, but the sound is excellent.

—Steven Ritter

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