Warner Classics, Release date: Friday 11th November

“The concept ‘Three Wings’ is taken from Abess St Hildegard of Bingen’s ‘O Virtus Sapientiae’, a medieval plainsong text in which she sees ‘Divine Wisdom’ (Sapientia), a figure personified in the Old Testament, as ‘having three wings, of which one soars to the heights and another sweats on the earth and a third flies everywhere’ and was one of Hildegard’s most constant visionary companions” David Lol Perry

Noted worldwide for their excellence, the boy Quiristers (Qs) of Winchester College are in high demand, regularly performing classical and sacred works in the UK, as well as abroad in countries like Italy, Holland, France, USA, the Vatican and Russia. In 2014, Malcolm Archer, Director of Chapel Music at Winchester College, keen to broaden his Quiristers’ sound outside the classical and sacred world, invited composer/producer David Lol Perry to record with them, suggesting he add new, contemporary arrangements to Plainsong to be sung by the Qs. Using pieces traditionally sung a cappella, this would be the first time that their sacred sound would be part of a contemporary recording.

The project entailed the complex task of recording the assembled boy Quiristers within the walls of the 14th century College Chapel, and to overcome its unique set of acoustic challenges. Keen to avoid the clichéd sound of sample-based, overly-quantised arrangements, Perry’s aim was to create an ethereal sound that added intimacy, serving to complement rather than dominate the centuries-old sung melodies. He set about this by employing an array of electro-acoustic studio production techniques to create contemporary, sympathetic arrangements, building a ‘sonic journey’ into each piece to maintain its traditional structure and lyrical narrative. The result is a sublime collection of 14th Century plainsong reimagined for the 21st Century with new arrangements and state-of-the-art soundscapes.

 

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