It's hard not to rave about this recording; all the ecstatic reviews below are right on target.
The Dale Warland Singers are one of the world's finest choral ensembles, known for their precise technique, silken tone, and adventurous programming. Many outstanding composers have written pieces for them, capitalizing on the group's talent and unique sound. This disc is one of the Warland group's finest achievements. Not only is the program well-considered and expertly sung, but the pristine, virtually noise-free recording is a delight.
My personal favorite is the Howells "Requiem," a deeply moving piece written in 1936. The composer's sad inspiration was the death of his son, and from that grief emerged this stirring creation. This masterpiece receives a mystical and intense performance here that will haunt you long after it has ended.
The Barber "Agnus Dei" (based on his "Adagio for Strings") is gorgeously done, with the long lines powerfully sustained, and the chorus making the tricky intervals sound easy. If you are familiar with the "Adagio" you owe it to your ears to this arrangement for chorus - quite a celestial experience. And Frank Martin's "Mass" is probably the least well-known piece on the program - a pity, but perhaps a performance as glowing as this one will make a better case for it.
The oldest work on the program is the Allegri "Miserere," in an excellent performance. For me, it does not quite displace my favorite by the Tallis Scholars on Gimell, but it is still outstanding choral singing by any measure.
The sound on the recording is amazing - crystal-clear and natural, with no background noise. After hearing this group's other stunning CD on American Choral Classics ("December Stillness"), I can only conclude that ACC is one of the finest small labels around.
An excellent, striking recording, both artistically and sonically, of one of the finest choral ensembles you will ever hear.