I really wanted to like this CD, as I'm very fond of Randall Thompson's choral music. And in many ways I thoroughly enjoyed the performances here.
Let's start with what's right:
1. The balance in the chorus in quite good.
2. The orchestra is excellent.
3. Diction is excellent -- entrances and cut-offs likewise. Vowel-matching has obviously been stressed, and it really helps with the blend.
4. The Testament of Freedom is sung with passion and fire -- precisely what this glorious piece needs. Very well done, indeed.
5. "A Girl's Garden" is utterly delightful! Wonderful clarity, you get a sense of a group of friends telling you a charming story about a village "legend," which is exactly how it should be done, in my opinion.
Now, for some of what I believe are deficiencies:
1. The balance between the orchestra and the chorus in the Testament is off in places. The orchestra overpowers the chorus in some of the quieter parts.
2. As someone else pointed out, the chorus is very noticably FLAT in "The Road Not Taken" -- especially at the end. We're not talking just a minor drift -- it's more like 1/4 tone or more. Surely someone during recording would have noticed?
The problems are enough to keep me from giving this five stars. It's a good recording, and certainly one to have if for no other reason than it's probably the only commercially-available recording of the SATB version of Testament of Freedom. Thompson's setting of Thomas Jefferson's words is extraordinary, and deserves more popularity than it has received. Maybe now that patriotism seems to be back in fashion, this music will receive more play.