REVIEW: In Paradisum by Schola Cantorum

This richly varied album features a haunting and soothing collection of music that highlights the talent of the Schola Cantorum perfectly.

Dating back to over a century ago, the Schola Cantorum of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School has a long-standing tradition of fine choral singing which is highlighted in this new recording.

Having appeared at the BBC Proms and the Aldeburgh Festival, the choir’s singing abilities have also been heard in films including Life of Pi, the Harry Potter films, Rocketman amongst others. Listening to this album it is clear why.

From renditions of Jonathan Dove’s Seek Him that maketh the seven stars’ to Howard Shore’s ‘In Dreams’, there is certainly plenty of variety of music that captures the gorgeous harmonies of the choir that rise and fall gracefully.

This is also an album that is filled with soul – with ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’ and ‘Ave Maria’ proving to be extremely moving and tender to listen to, while still managing to make the music sounding refreshingly different than other recordings of these well known pieces.

Elsewhere, with pieces such as ‘Conquest of Paradise’, the listener can really hear the joy and enthusiasm of all the performances which are always crystal clear. The music thoroughly wraps itself around the listener and thoroughly engages with its precision and perfect harmonies.

While it is fantastic that the album has so much variety and there is clear pride in everything that the choir has achieved, it can become in danger of being overwhelming in places and tends to lose focus towards the end of the album. There is enough material for two albums on this one recording.

This aside, there is plenty to admire about this perfectly pitched album that manages to highlight the sheer joy that listening to beautiful pieces of music can bring. A real delight for the ears.

By Emma Clarendon

In Paradisum is available to buy now.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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