Michael Hurd: Choral Music Vol.1 – CD Review

**** (4 stars)

Michael Hurd’s Night Songs of Edward Thomas is the finest setting I’ve ever heard of that songful but somehow musically resistant poet. Thomas’s words call for very careful setting and singing, and the Vasaris do both composer and poet proud. There is a Missa brevis, too, which fills out the middles section of a recording bracketed by shorter and lighter pieces, including the delightful ‘parley’ of Suffolk owls, which might reinforce the suspicion that Hurdis all crepuscular and minor-key. Not at all. The music soars and swoops in the clear sky and the singers sound positively sun-kissed, even in the nocturnes.

Brian Morton
Choir & Organ

© Jeremy Backhouse