In Sorrow’s Footsteps – Gabriel Jackson: Stabat Mater; Palestrina: Super flumina Babylonis, Stabat Mater, Ave Maria; Allegri: Miserere; MacMillan: Miserere

Reviewed on Mon 15 Oct, 2018

Under Rory McCleery’s deft and detailed, but loose and liquid, direction, the consort’s 10-strong voices respond with exquisite grace and gravity.

For sheer beauty and purity of sound, for the consummate blending of old and new, The Marian Consort’s In Sorrow’s Footsteps is a contender for disc of the year by anyone’s standards. In its tenth anniversary year, the mixed-voice a cappella ensemble’s tenth disc for Delphian Records is a thing of sublime, subtly but surely articulated beauty. Framing two titans of Renaissance polyphony is James MacMillan’s Miserere – a discrete, plaintive and plosive companion to Allegri’s own setting of the 51st Psalm, the luminous centrepiece of this recital – and the specially commissioned Stabat Mater of Gabriel Jackson. It’s a work of erudite richness and emotional directness, its declamatory opening (a provocative companion to Palestrina’s setting also heard here) demanding attention. Under Rory McCleery’s deft and detailed, but loose and liquid, direction, the consort’s 10-strong voices respond with exquisite grace and gravity. Superb Delphian sound and excellent notes by Andrew Mellor add to the considerable pleasure.
–Michael Quinn