When Sleep Comes - Meditations for Voices & Saxophone / Forshaw, Short, Tenebrae

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Virtuoso saxophonist Christian Forshaw is joined by a consort of Tenebrae singers, in an ethereal sequence of penitential settings for Passiontide. Combining elements of ancient and modern to stunning effect, Forshaw and Tenebrae bring new colors and context to music by Gibbons, Tallis, and Hildegard von Bingen in a series of new arrangements and compositions.

Described as “phenomenal” (The Times) and “devastatingly beautiful” (Gramophone Magazine), award-winning choir Tenebrae is one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles, renowned for its passion and precision. Award-winning conductor Nigel Short has earned widespread acclaim for his recording and live performance work with leading orchestras and ensembles across the world.


The disc is divided between original music by Christian Forshaw and his arrangements of music by other composers. The original music is solid, direct, and very listenable-to: his setting of the In Paradisum from the service of committal sets the text with plainsong directness, while the soprano sounds like an additional member of chorus rather than an added spiritual presence. In fact, the delight of much of the disc is that it’s sometimes impossible to tell whether you’re listening to the saxophone or a soprano voice.

In the music by composers other than Mr. Forshaw, it’s difficult to ignore the ghost of Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble in their famous (and famously successful) Officium of 1994. But while there are undeniable echoes to and fro, Tenebrae and Forshaw put their own mark on what they do.

-- MusicWeb International (Simon Thompson)

Product Description:

  • Release Date: April 15, 2022

  • Catalog Number: SIGCD708

  • UPC: 635212070826

  • Label: Signum Classics

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Orlando Gibbons, Hildegard von Bingen, Christian Forshaw, Thomas Tallis, Tomás Luis de Victoria, Antoine Brumel, Owain Park, Henry F. Lyte, William H. Monk

  • Conductor: Nigel Short

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Tenebrae

  • Performer: Christian Forshaw