Reviews of the choir's latest release of Brazilian choral music Romaria have begun to arrive...
Take the exotic recorded soundscape of the Brazilian rainforest – birds, frogs and buzzing insects – and overlay a snatch of a 16th century Vittoria mass that gradually morphs into a spectacular combination of the two vocal worlds and you have Metaphors by the late Brazilian composer Henrique de Curtiba. It’s just one of an alluring collection of Brazilian works written since 1950 that constitute this exceptional recording by the Choir of Gonville & Caius College Cambridge, under its inspirational director Geoffrey Webber. The sweet folksong arrangements of Ernst Mahle, the rich sonic clusters of Prado’s Oráculo and Aylton Escobar’s fruity Missa Breve are attractively offbeat but never quite as unorthodox. A fascinating choral adventure. Ken Walton
You may not have realised your life lacked a disc of modern Brazilian choral music, complete with rainforest soundtrack and talk of hummingbirds, alligators, pollution and clothes-washing. This enchanting album may convince you otherwise. The title – Romaria – refers to pilgrimage, crowds and the vibrancy of faith. Apart from Heitor Villa-Lobos, all the composers included here were born in the early- or mid-20th-century, some still unpublished. Their names are unfamiliar: Henrique de Curitiba (of Polish origin), Ernst Mahle (German-born), Osvaldo Lacerda, Cláudio Santoro among them. Some use popular Brazilian rhythms, others look back to a Catholic-Christian choral tradition. Aylton Ecobar’s Missa Breve uses both. The choir of Gonville & Caius is among the finest of the mixed collegiate choirs. Everything they do merits our attention, especially this. Fiona Maddocks