Early Music Review
Recording Reviews
June 2010
by Andrew Benson-Wilson

Mendelssohn & Bach Magnificats in D
Yale Schola Cantorum, Yale Voxtet, Yale Collegium Players
Simon Carrington, conductor
Naxos 8.572161

The Yale Schola Cantorum is a 24-voice chamber choir that concentrates on music from before 1750 and after 1900. It was set up 7 years ago by Simon Carrington, one of the founders of the King's Singers (and an enthusiastic subscriber to EMR). Taking a brief detour away from their intended repertoire, this CD contrasts Bach's Magnificat with Mendelssohn's early venture - composed, remarkably, when he was just 13. It was his first major work for full orchestra and singers. With a detailed knowledge of JS and CPE Bach's examples, and with the background of the Viennese classicists, Mendelssohn created a glorious synthesis of baroque and classical style which the Yale contingent relish in this strong performance. A movement from an early string symphony links this to the Bach work, given an expansive and measured reading. Mendelssohn's later direction is reflected in the concluding Ave Maria.