In Praise of Saint Columba: The Sound-world of the Celtic Church

Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge
Barnaby Brown (triplepipes & lyre)
Geoffrey Webber (director)

Preview available. Click track number to listen

This groundbreaking programme from Geoffrey Webber’s consistently inventive choir seeks to recreate three distinct sound-worlds. Just as the influence of Irish monks extended not only across Scotland but also to mainland Europe, so we imagine our way back down the centuries into 7th-century hermits’ cells, 10th-century Celtic foundations in Switzerland, and the 14th-century world of Inchcolm Abbey, the ‘Iona of the East’ in the Firth of Forth. Silent footprints of musical activity – the evidence of early notation but also of stone carvings, manuscript illuminations, and documents of the early Church – have guided both vocal and instrumental approaches in the choir’s work with scholar and piper Barnaby Brown, an exciting extended collaboration which was further informed by oral traditions from as far afield as Sardinia and the Outer Hebrides.

‘Quite exceptional on every level … an utterly compelling disc’
— Early Music Today, Autumn 2014, FIVE STARS

‘Webber and his choristers have produced a generously filled disc that seeks to recreate three distinct sound worlds …Everything is performed with a missionary zeal … hauntingly beautiful’
— Gramophone, Awards Issue 2014

‘Every interpretative choice made by conductor Geoffrey Webber sounds musically justified, the evidence for them documented in detail in the booklet … a magnificent sound, and hopefully unlike anything you’ve ever heard — like a couple of musically-literate whales singing an aria’
— The Arts Desk, September 2014

‘Who can say whether these interpretations of chants and hymns from the early Celtic church are authentic, but they have been done with intelligence, musicality and enthusiasm … [the choir] give a bracing vigour and unusual freedom to this ancient music’
— BBC Music Magazine, September 2014, CHORAL & SONG CHOICE

‘done with intelligence, musicality and enthusiasm … Webber and his formidable choir give a bracing vigour and unusual freedom to this ancient music’
— The Observer, July 2014

  • Recording venue(s): St Peter’s Church, Horningsea, Cambridgeshire
  • Recording dates: 16-18 July 2013
  • Physical format: Jewel case
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Number of tracks: 15
  • Total playing time: 1:16:15

To download booklet, please log in. If you don't have an account, simply create one by buying one of our products.