Holst Singers, Stephen Layton (conductor)
This pioneering new recording—a showcase for the virtuoso talents of the Holst Singers—presents all fifteen of Villette’s unaccompanied choral works and his two motets for choir and organ.
Pierre Villette might best be regarded as a stylistic bridge between Debussy and Fauré on the one hand and Poulenc and Messiaen on the other. A world rich in the familiarities of Gregorian chant infuses much of his choral output, while ambitious chromaticisms and textural gestures create effects which are at once spiritual and sensuous. This is the music of private prayer set in the context of an incense-filled Gothic Über-Cathedral.
Under their long-standing director of music Stephen Layton, the Holst Singers have established themselves firmly at the top of the country’s league of chamber choirs. This new programme can only enhance their justly deserved reputation.