23 Dec York Press Review of our York Concert
York Early Music Christmas Festival. National Centre for Early Music, 9 December 2016
The York Press, Robert Gammon, 12 December 2016
During its 30 years, the distinguished vocal group Gothic Voices have built up quite a following. The National Centre for Early Music was full for their evening of late medieval music for Advent and Christmas last Friday.
Their authority in this repertoire was obvious, and made for characterful and convincing performances. Close harmonies in the 12th-13th century Verbum Patris Humanatur sounded both ancient and curiously modern, while In Natali Novi Regis was touchingly intimate.
The 13th-century Dou Way Robin/Sancta Mater Gratiae exuded seemly humility, and Alleluia Psallat brought a joyfully energetic close to the first half; its solo verse interlude showed mezzo-soprano Catherine King at her vibrant, intense best, with power in reserve.
Rhythms crackled in the anonymous 15th-century carol Alleluya: A Newe Werk, while the anonymous narrative Nowell, Nowell, Nowell had an engaging rusticity. Ther Is No Rose Of Swych Virtu displayed the rich yet peaceful sonic purity of three perfectly blended voices.
Care and artistry were also lavished on liturgical items, including Dunstaple’s resonant Magnificat and the magnificent Gloria from the 15th-century Missa Caput. Queldryk’s contrasting setting of the Gloria seemed to revel gleefully in its text’s sheer wordiness… this was a thoroughly enjoyable concert, presented with scholarly authenticity.