All Things Are Quite Silent
Works for choir by:
Elizabeth Poston, Anna Lapwood, Sally Beamish, Jonathan Dove, Kerensa Briggs, Caroline Shaw,
Matthew Martin, Amy Beach, Rebecca Clarke, Imogen Holst, John Tavener, Josef Rheinberger, Laura Mvula

Chapel and Girls’ Choirs of Pembroke College, Cambridge
Anna Lapwood Conductor

Signum Classics SIGCD642
Full Price

The Review

Anna Lapwood is one of those musicians that leaves most feeling exhausted before they read half way down her CV. Still only 25, she’s already been Director of Music at Pembroke for four years, presents on television, is an organ recitalist around the world and leads a music charity in Zambia. She also sings, plays the piano, violin and viola and composes – and of course, conducts. She probably rules several small countries in her spare time.

She is clearly galvanising Pembroke College, Cambridge, and this is a first commercial recording for these choirs. The choice of repertoire leans towards gentle, slow pieces, seemingly picked on a democratic principle that this is the music they all like, which is fair enough. The works, most under four minutes, flow by very pleasantly, sung with the precision of young but not yet wholly professional voices with a care and attention to musical subtlety that more established but less engaged choirs often miss.

This is not a disc of masterpieces but there are some gems, very few of them well-known. Eleanor Daley’s Upon your Heart, Jonathan Dove’s Into Thy Hands, Imogen Holst’s Agnus Dei stand out. Perhaps the most memorable items, though, are three arrangements; Kerry Andrews highly inventive setting of the folk song that gives the album its title and has the choir whooshing as the sea or making their finest bird noises, Laura Mvula’s own choral setting of her Sing to the Moon, made for the last night of the Proms last year, and Elizabeth Poston’s delightful setting of The Water of Tyne. Much to enjoy – and savour the pervading calm that, somehow, those of us who did not get to a Cambridge college thought they should be like.

SM