5 Descriptive Jottings of London
6 Anima Christi
…[a] distinctive Finnissy survey… the whole programme is brilliantly performed by the 12-strong EXAUDI ensemble, and the highly atmospheric recording has an ideal clarity.
The Gramophone, Awards Issue 2005
EXAUDI perform with hair’s-breadth accuracy, while Richard Jackson is excellent as the narrator of the bloody, tragic tale of the Battle of Maldon.
Chosen by New Yorker music critic Alex Ross as one of his 10 Top CDs of 2005:
An enthralling disc… this music grips heart, mind and imagination alike. Finnissy's choral works are essentially an exploration of collective memory, drawing on a rich mixture of influences, sources, evocations and archetypes. EXAUDI are stunning advocates… the soloists are outstanding. This is compulsive listening for admirers of Finnissy, and will win many converts to his music. *****
BBC Music Magazine 2005
1 Open the Gate
2-12 A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory
13 The Missouri Harmony
14 Rendered Account
15-18 American Choruses
Christopher Fox is 50 this year, and it is hard to think of a better birthday present than this marvellous disc of his choral music from EXAUDI. With works spanning a 20-year period, both the evolution of Fox's ideas and the enduring individuality of his compositional voice can be heard… EXAUDI traverse the demands of this music with ease… Recommended. *****
BBC Music Magazine
1-9 Presages for solo oboe
10 Motet (Excerpta Tractati Logico-Philosophici)
11-19 Wind Trio
21 Nunc Dimittis
22-26 String Trio
27 Verses of Love
28-30 Fantasie Trio
31 The Country of the Stars
This mixture of a cappella choral and instrumental works from the 1950s and 1960s is a timely and beautifully performed tribute.
Not as tuneful as Mozart, true; nor as resonant as Shostakovich. Yet the neglected music of Elisabeth Lutyens (born 1906) fully deserves celebrating. In her hands serial composition never produced cold fish: take the plangent Présages for solo oboe (Melinda Maxwell, very powerful), or the gravely beautiful Wittgenstein Motet, lyrically dispatched by the choir Exaudi. ****
James Weeks and EXAUDI bring out the best in Lutyens…NMC's new disc is timely and poignantly welcome…The singers and players of EXAUDI and Endymion turn in eloquent, dedicated performances in first-rate sound, making every note – as Lutyens intended – count. *****
BBC Music Magazine
1-4 Chamber Concerto
5-7 Clarinet Quintet
8 The Voice of the Spirits
9 The Bridge of Fire
10-15 Suite from Delicate
16 Roundels of the Year
17-20 Rise Up, My Love
21 Ben Somewhen
An enticing collection … Exaudi and BCMG are manifestly attuned to the idiom, and recorded with ideal clarity. Informative notes from James Weeks and the composer enhance a release that confirms Skempton's move to the centre of British new music as complete.
The simplicity of his music, and its tendency to brevity – there are eight works in this collection, the longest of them an 18-minute suite of ballet music – are all deceptive; what one gets within the smallest frame is something totally memorable, perfectly crafted and, in its way, unutterably strange… Each of these pieces, whether the four written for ensemble or those for chorus (settings of Shelley, Flecker, Drinkwater and the Song of Solomon), manages to do something exquisite and totally personal; how Skempton always does it with such economy is a wonder in itself.
4 Hanging Line
10 Security Code
Christopher Fox's Catalogue irraisoné, for solo voice or vocal ensemble, teeters on the edge of music. Each piece seems little more than a precisely annotated index card for something of more weight, housed somewhere else. Their collection hints at an inscrutable culture, with its own rituals and strange art. This world hides itself behind a peculiar bureaucracy, but its threat still permeates even the most objective utterances. EXAUDI bring the disinterested commitment of the archivist or bibliographer, leaving the mystery and meaning of this music to us to uncover.