Vidi Speciosam - Sacred Choral Music / Bevan Family Consort
Soprano Mary Bevan writes: In 1975, the original Bevan Family Choir released their debut album on vinyl, featuring an eclectic programme of sacred choral works, Welsh folk songs, and piano music. The Choir consisted of 11 of the 14 Bevan siblings and was conducted by their father, Roger. Later on the Choir was taken over by the second eldest son, David, who was to go on to become Assistant Director of Music at Westminster Cathedral. The musical tradition continued to flourish within the family until, in 2013, some of the second generation of cousins decided to create their own version of the family choir, naming themselves the Bevan Family Consort so as to distinguish them from their parents’ generation. The Consort has since ranged in size from 15-22 of the 53 first cousins. To honour David and the influence he had over us all as musicians, this disc consists of music that was introduced to us by him during his years at the Holy Redeemer Church and that have since become beloved by us as a choir.
The Bevan Family Consort are particularly good at strongly textured works such as Croce’s In spirito humilitatis, tinged with Venetian monumentalism, or Holst’s Nunc dimittis with its ecstatic ending. This last piece was not discovered until 1979, some 45 years after Holst’s death. Other rarities include the Dignare me by Fernando de las Infantas, apparently a Spanish nobleman working in Rome – so obscure as to be practically confidential. The works with intricate polyphony are pleasingly performed, though in the Kyrie and Gloria of Victoria’s Missa Vidi speciosam the upper voices are a little sharp and the overall acoustic seems rather distant. Breath control and phrasing is always musical and is apparent even in the plainsongs (Ave Maria). The most beautiful work here is Alonso Lobo’s Versus est in luctum. The voices of the Bevan Consort are slightly too disparately coloured to match the magical poise of this work achieved by the group Tenebrae (also on Signum) which shares an album with Victoria’s Requiem.
-- BBC Music Magazine
Release Date: May 19, 2023
Catalog Number: SIGCD746
Label: Signum Classics
Number of Discs: 1
Composer: David Bevan, Giovanni Croce, Gustav Holst, Fernando de las Infantas, Alonso Lobo, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Robert Parsons, Charles Villiers Stanford, Thomas Tallis, Tomas Luis de Victoria
Conductor: Graham Ross
Orchestra/Ensemble: Bevan Family Consort
Performer: Dominic Bevan, Harry Bevan, David Bevan, Edward Bevan, Mary Bevan