Just in time for the Easter season, a tremendous choral excursion.

“Haec dies – Music for Easter” – Choir of Clare College, Cambridge/ Graham Ross/ Matthew Jorysz, organ – Harmonia mundi HMU 907655, 72:56 *****:

Though there are a few pieces here that are distinctly non-Easter in origin (like the Rachmaninov), this Easter day celebration that spans five centuries across the European continent has a lot going for it. For those wanting the traditional boys-men choir, you had best look elsewhere, for the Clare College Choir is a mixed male-female ensemble of young singers who sport a powerful dynamic range and superbly pointed intonation. I can’t pretend that the boys versus girls argument in English choral singing isn’t important; in fact the two timbres are hugely different and make quite a difference in the perception. For those seeking “tradition” this will come as a disappointment. For those wanting simple, unaffected and magnificently presently vocal art that is able to traverse multiple periods and styles with ease, this is it.

There are no weak links on this recording, the sound is exceptional, and the resonating commitment of these young musicians easily belies their youth. The mix of composers and periods is apt and successful, making for an adventurous and entrancing hour of Paschalia.


Bassano, G: Dic nobis
Byrd: Haec dies; Pascha nostrum
Hadley, P: My beloved spake
Haller, M: Surrexit Pastor bonus
Lasso: Aurora Lucis Rutilat; Surrexit Pastor bonus; Magnificat Super Aurora Lucis Rutilat
Lhéritier: Surrexit pastor bonus
Martin, M: Haec dies (world premiere recording)
Palestrina: Terra tremuit
Rachmaninov: Dnes’ spaseniye
Scheidt: Surrexit Christus hodie
Stanford: Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem, Op. 123
Taverner: Dum transisset Sabbatum I
Vaughan Williams: Easter (No. 1 from Five Mystical Songs)
Wesley, S S: Blessed be the God and Father

—Steven Ritter