Gramophone, april 2015

This CD presents an assortment of favourite piesces from the repertoire of the Danish choir Concert Clemens. The music comes form four different centuries - 16th, 17th, 19th and 20th - and most of the works use sacred texts. The programme looks somewhat incoherent on paper but generally conservative choral writing of all the composers means, that old and new compositions coexists with ease. The uniformity of approach in Concert Clemens's performances also provides consistency in their interpretations. They sing with a *straight* tone, free from any opeeratic vibrato, and their balance and blend are finely polished by conductor Carsten Seyer-Hansen.

Despite the attractiveness of the singing, the overall impression is of a slight coolness and lack of emotional involvement with the words. One possible reason for this is the restraint in the range of dynamics, where there's only a modest difference between pp, mp and f. This is apparent in Tavener's The Lamb, and here, the composer's instructions for flexibility of tempo, plus marcato phrase marks on important words are largely unobserved. Arguably, it's only in Janequin's Le chant des oiseaux, that the choir display their full expressiveness, here, the crisp diction and the evident enjoyment of the singers is well captured by the faithful recording.

It may be, that Concert Clemens are more satisfying to hear live, within the setting of a handsome church or cathedral. Certainly they're a choir worth listening to for their beautifil singing, which can deliver performances of pure, natural eloquence.
- Christopher Nickol