Sunday Times

This is METIER’s third Finnissy release and may surprise those acquainted only with his transcendentally difficult instrumental music. His motets have an apparent simplicity, a devotional serenity, an authenticity in their use of plainchant that make them hard to distinguish from works written centuries ago. They are indeed meant for liturgical use, and are beautifully re-created by nine young professional singers. The texts are Marian hymns and Gospel narratives in alternating sequence and recount the life of the Virgin. The hymns are the more extrovert, with lines that soar ecstatically and evoke eastern cantillation. Elsewhere the contrapuntal textures are extremely subtle and smooth. These are not, though, stylistic parodies. Finnissy’s modern hand can be detected in numerous twists of phrase and harmonic nuances, and the nearest analogy is probably with Stravinsky’s recomposition of Gesualdo madrigals. Fans of Tavener and Gorecki should find enjoyment here.

—Paul Driver