I hear a lot of first-rate choral singing while wearing my Fanfare reviewing hat; but I can’t recall hearing any that surpasses the work of Saxon Vocal Ensemble as presented here. Blend, balance, diction, sensitive dynamic shadings—all are as near perfect as one could ask. If any technical virtue deserves singling out, it’s the bang-on intonation of the sopranos in the upper register. But perhaps more important, there’s a certain tenderness about these performances; the pieces aren’t treated as though they were excerpts from Elijah, but gently respected for the delicate miniatures they are.
Engineering and annotation are first-rate as well. As best I can tell, this release has no direct competition, and it doesn’t need any.