What better way for British composer, Cecilia McDowall to celebrate her seventieth birthday than with a recording of her choral and organ music by the renowned choir of Trinity College Cambridge? With its colourful and expressive dissonance, and references to earlier musical styles, McDowall’s music requires singers who can marry unflinching accuracy with passionate communication. As you would expect, Stephen Layton and his forces deliver these qualities in abundance.

Cecilia McDowall

Amongst the highlights is Standing as I do before God , a 2013 work that evokes the final hours of British nurse, Edith Cavell before she was executed by German authorities in 1915 for sheltering Allied soldiers. McDowall’s use of a soprano soloist heightens the potent mix of courage, faith and serenity embedded in the moving score.

Upper voices also feature in the striking Adoro Te Devote written for Westminster Cathedral, with its allusions to Allegri’s famous Miserere , and The Lord is Good , a haunting setting from the book of Lamentations.

Forming a welcome contrast to the unaccompanied choral works is the O Antiphon Sequence of 2018, played winningly on the organ...

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