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Review of CD Solstice of Light
"Glasgow University Chapel Choir’s growing fortunes under James Grossmith’s inspiring conductorship continue with the second release on the university’s own in-house label, and a programme that focuses on Peter Maxwell Davies’ Solstice of Light. The words by fellow Orcadian George Mackay Brown are a poetic timeline of the history of the islands, set in 1979 by Maxwell Davies with uncharacteristic warmth.
The performance is fruity and precise, both from the student choir with solo tenor Austin Gunn, and from resident organist Kevin Bowyer, who imbues the instrumental interludes with a stinging poignancy. Rating: 4 Stars"
Kenneth Walton - The Scotsman, 20th February 2012
Reviews of CD Spirits and Souls
"Keep an ear open for young conductor James Grossmith. His work with the University of Glasgow's Chapel Choir projects impressive musical maturity and a sense of emotional openness, qualities that get the best of out of a well-drilled, naturally exuberant group of singers."
Classic FM Magazine, August 2008
"Here is a seriously auspicious debut for Scotland's newest record label, Bute, founded by chorus director James Grossmith and university organist Kevin Bowyer. Behind the distinguished and beautifully sung choral music on the inaugural recording, produced by John Butt, lies, clearly, an ambition and a vision. Both of these are reflected throughout the first disc, in shining performances of a broad repertoire from big name composers including MacMillan, Leighton, Swayne, Sweeney, Maxwell Davies, as well as the younger and impressive voice of Lionel Steuart Fothringham. A new and significant venture in Scotland's music, of which, I am sure, much more anon."
The Herald, May 2008
"A revolution has taken place at Glasgow University Chapel since the restructuring of the chapel music a few years ago. In place of a single organist/director, the top-class double-act of choir director James Grossmith and organist Kevin Bowyer has lifted standards sky high, and here's the first record of that to appear on the chapel's own Bute label. The repertoire is fresh and enticing - musical styles as diverse as Giles Swayne, James MacMillan, Peter Maxwell Davies and Charles Camilleri - and the performances are enshrined by the new broom of perfection and inspiration that has swept the choir stalls.
Swayne's Beatus Vir is a brilliantly fresh piece of writing that combines an unpretentious harmonic choral style with dramatic splashes of organ accompaniment and an explosive dramatic tension. Lionel Stuart Fothringham's Benedicite - commissioned by the chapel choir two years ago - offers a similarly imaginative theatrical presentation, but on a grander scale. The performance is electrifying".
The Scotsman, May 2008