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Song of Songs

The Observer enjoys Song of Songs

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer (3 May, 2009)

This ensemble, its members still in their 20s and just a dozen beautifully blended voices singing a cappella, has emerged as one of the best and freshest early music choirs around. Their third CD is a selection of motet and plainchant settings from the Song of Songs, the startling Old Testament collection of erotic love poems ascribed to King Solomon. Less familiar composers – Lhéritier, Francisco Guerrero, Vivanco – are included alongside Lassus, Gombert and Victoria. Palestrina’s flowing lines in “Nigra sum” (“I am black but beautiful”) and “Osculetur me” (“Let him kiss me”) blur the boundaries of sacred and profane to sumptuous effect.