"O Guiding Light by The Sixteen and Harry Christophers has all the hallmarks that tend to characterize their performances: crystalline intonation, sumptuous tonal luster, expansive dynamic range, and acute musical insight (...) Each of the pieces is attractive on its own, but the tracks by Tarik O'Regan leap out because of his especially assured handling of the voices, his control of magical choral textures, his harmonic language, which is exquisitely sweet without being cloying, and the depth of his insight into the texts."
NEW - Allmusic.com
“St Teresa was and is (in) famous for having experienced episodes of religious ecstasy and the idea in her prayer of “having” God introduces sufficient emotional dissonance to inspire not only all three composers but The Sixteen, who under the sensitive direction of Harry Christophers seem alert to every expressive possibility while maintaining clear diction and a warm, glowing sound throughout this marvellous disc.”
"The nine works recorded on the disc “O Guiding Night” (...) are superbly recorded by this highly competent and stylistically versatile group [The Sixteen]. (…) this disc is a successful testimony of a vibrant contemporary and spiritual vocal music scene, as it can rarely be heard anywhere else today."
“With this disc, our greatest admiration and fondest support goes out unreservedly to Harry Christophers. The Sixteen reveals itself as an excellent choir for contemporary music. It must be said straight away that we are completely awe-struck by the three composers on this disc. All three show an incredible mastery of their trade and extraordinary talent. (…) The Sixteen is completely at ease in all the works on this disc, however modern they are, and perform them with all the beauty and grandeur that falls upon them.”
Pizzicato Magazine - Supersonic Award
"Perhaps the main achievement of this project is to bring the somewhat remote sentiments and experiments of these two significant early figures of the Catholic Church alive for a modern audience through music that, while equally mysterious and mystifying, is so much of our own time."
International Record Review
“They [The Sixteen] also recently released quite a different disc called O Guiding Night, new settings of words by two Sixteenth Century Spanish Mystics, Saint Teresa of Ávila and Saint John of the Cross. I found ‘The Dark Night’ by Ruth Byrchmore particularly effective. (…) ‘The Dark Night’, words by Sixteenth Century Spanish Mystic Saint John of the Cross, in the setting by Ruth Byrchmore, one of the six new works commissioned for The Sixteen by the Genesis Foundation. Robert Quinney was the organist playing that startling opening prelude suggestive of the inner conflict of St John of the Cross, and it’s a thrilling performance. The other new works are just as rewarding in their different ways, including Byrchmore’s prayer of Saint Teresa of Ávila, and three works a-piece by Tarik O’Regan and Roderick Williams, who you’re more likely to have come across as a baritone, but on this evidence he has a sure touch as a choral composer. O Guiding Night is one of Williams’ settings, and it gives its title to the disc, which is on the Coro label.”
BBC Radio 3 CD review
"By virtue of some neat time travel and historical research, a trio of today's composers here bring to life two of the so-called Spanish Mystics of the 16th and 17th centuries. Tarik O'Regan, Ruth Byrchmore and Roderick Williams grapple with making contemporary the texts of old. They succeed amazingly well - managing to inhabit both times at once, with a through line of spirituality. The Sixteen are on fine form."
"The bright future of music. The choice of composers and their responses to these mystical texts prove inspired...I've already added O Guiding Night to my long list of desert island discs. Tarik O'Regan's Beloved, all things ceased, with its hypnotic hockets and ecstatic outbursts, and Byrchmore's The Dark Night intensify the album's sublime qualities, while Williams' 0 Adonai rounds it off with a timeless prayer."
Classic FM ★★★★★ - Editor's Choice
"This CD resulted from a co-commission:all three composers were asked to set two texts by the medieval Spanish saints Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross.The pieces are predictably varied.Most conservative in idiom are those of Roderick Williams,moonlighting from his day job as a baritone.his St John setting O Guiding Night is striking and audibly engaging the singers.Warm,untroubled consolation and reassurance characterise Let Nothing Trouble You,Williams's take on the St Teresa text,where Tarik O'Regan'sresponse is harmonically more ambivalent.Ruth Byrchmore goes furthest in acknowledging that there is plenty to be troubled about, in the unsettled chiaroscuro of her Prayer of St Teresa.Byrchmore's instinct for the dramatic erupts in the crunching organ chords launching The Dark Night, while O'Regan relies on an ululating underlay of voices to evoke the erotic,visionary nature of St John's clandestine nocturnal assignation. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen nail it expertly."
BBC Music Magazine
"If John Tavener has enjoyed a monopoly of mystical music for the last 20 years, here are serious challenges...A fascinating project: the same three texts set by three different composers but all mesmerized by this poetry's ecstatic conjunction of agape and eros, love sacred and love profane."
Choir & Organ ★★★★
"Tarik O’Regan is the youngest but the most familiar of these three composers, for earlier he had a disc to himself (30: 1) and has received similar commissions to this one. O’Regan and Roderick Williams, the oldest of the three, both set the prayer unaccompanied and the poem with piano. Ruth Byrchmore also sets the prayer unaccompanied but the poem with organ, the magnificent instrument at St. Giles, Cripplegate, where this program was recorded. (Robert Quinney plays both organ and piano.) I hear more similarity than difference in these works, but that suggests that the mystical texts inspired all three composers alike...Christophers brings the excellent performances to life in his accustomed manner. This is a fine program of new music."
O GUIDING NIGHT
The Spanish Mystics
UK Release Date: May 2011
Catalogue Number: COR16090
O vera digna hostia
Beloved, all things ceased*
O Guiding Night*
Let nothing trouble you*
The Dark Night*
Prayer of St. Teresa of Ávila*
* Commissioned by the Genesis Foundation
Follow this link to buy the CD on The Sixteen website
Read the full press release on the Genesis Foundation website