NEW: Panufnik – Celestial BirdCelestial Bird

Ex Cathedra
Milapfest

Jeffrey Skidmore conductor

SIGCD543
56’33

Buy via Presto Classical to boost Classical Chart position

One of the UK’s most lauded composers, Roxanna Panufnik celebrates her 50th birthday with this release of previously unrecorded choral music. We were thrilled to work with Roxanna on this CD, and to join forces with Indian classical musicians from Milapfest to perform Unending Love. The CD also includes recordings of two Ex Cathedra commissions: Child of Heaven: Dawn Chorus III (2018) which sets a Hymn to Dawn from the Rig Veda; and Since We Parted (2015), a love song set against the backdrop of World War I.

Ex Cathedra and Roxanna Panufnik would like to thank Arts Council England, the PRS Foundation and the generous individual donors whose support made this CD possible.

Click here to read an interview Roxanna have given to Presto Classical about the CD.

REVIEWS for Celestial Bird:

“This fine album of choral works arrives in the midst of a celebratory year for the composer.  Panufnik’s works present varied sound worlds, luminous settings of sacred texts and, in the title track, traces of Celtic folksong. Celestial Bird sets a mystical poem by Carmelite nun Jessica Powers with sumptuous harmonies that soar and sting, aptly showcasing Ex Cathedra’s magnificent purity of sound. By contrast, Save Regina for unison female voices and piano is all about line. The work sets an extract of plainsong in an arrangement Panufnik describes as ‘very unplainsongy’, yet the piece captures, especially in this eloquent performance, the lilt and meditative space of medieval chant, albeit vividly reimagined. Other works range from the luscious Romanticism of Since We Parted (written to commemorate World War I) to the bittersweet lullaby A Cradle SongUnending Love sets a poem by Tagore and features South Asian instruments and Carnatic singer… Child of Heaven swirls across a number of Indian modes in depicting the break of dawn. The work is elegantly-shaped and full of warmth, rather like this disc as a whole.” (BBC Music Magazine)

“This anthology of choral music by British composer Roxanna Panufnik showcases her as an imaginative, distinctive and expressive composer, especially when setting spiritual texts. The longest of the 11 pieces, Unending love, opens the program. It uses a poem by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and mixes Western and South Indian music in a highly original way, with, as a formative element, Carnatic – South Indian – singing. The choir Ex Cathedra is accompanied in this innovative piece by the ensemble Milapfest, which specializes in Indian music… And so, this release, which is performed to a high standard, confirms Roxanna Panufnik’s reputation for composing music which is demanding yet accessible, with emotion, sensuality and a lyrical play of colours.” (www.pizzicato.lu)

1 Unending love
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2 Celestial Bird
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3 Salve Regina
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4 O Hearken
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5 St Pancras Magnificat
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6 St Pancras Nunc Dimittis
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7 Since We Parted (Ex Cathedra commission)
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8 A Cradle Song
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9 Deus est Caritas
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10 St Aidan's Prayer
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11 Child of Heaven: Dawn Chorus III (Ex Cathedra commission)
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