Tormis: Choral Music (CD Review - The Times, 2008)

Stephen Layton and his superlative choir deliver an inspiring programme of a capella choral works by the Estonian composer. The music springs from the East European folk tradition - rhythmic underlay, biting harmonies, melodies seemingly smoothed by time. The British choristers tackle these alien sounds with conviction, precision, passion, perfect tuning across the octaves and much variety of tone colour and dynamics. Exciting moments abound: the Livonian songs are wittily profound, the final chord of Heather is a golden climax, while Childhood Memory proves that the choir harbours top soloists as well. It's hard to believe that they all have day jobs.

Rick Jones 

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