The Celtic Collection by Margaret Rizza (CR038)
Review by Cross Rhythms
Listen and buy on Convivium Records
Margaret is a legend in the church music world and this, her 27th album [2nd with Convivium Records], is a work of art! She has, with the help of choral director Ben Lamb, skilfully wedded the Sarum Voices and the instrumentalists and conveyed an almost spiritual unity reflecting the prayerful intentions of the songs.
There are 18 songs (or chants) inspired by the likes of St Patrick and they are the culmination of Margaret’s 30 year study of spirituality. “May God Shield Me” features a cello and violin intro with the soprano-led choir and Jennifer Tilley’s clarinet solo gloriously showcased. “Awaken Me” is a very real and very relevant prayer for every believer, “Awaken me Lord to your purpose/Open my mind to your guiding.” Cathy Lamb’s organ emphasises the urgency of the choir’s words. “Jesu, Meet It Were To Praise Him” is a flowing song of praise beginning with chimes and concluding with an exultant and full blooded climax from the Sarum choir. St Patrick’s famous prayer, “Christ be before me, behind me and about me; Christ this day be within and around me” is a simple four-part acapella anthem entitled “Christ As Light”.
The theme continues in “Prayer Of St Patrick” as woodwind adds to the mood and the choir’s chant overlaps with the instrumentation to emphasise the words, “Christ my life and only way; Christ my lantern night and day.” The album concludes with “Trinity Blessing” and the words describe Margaret’s spiritual journey and also her wish that “the door be open wide for you to go into your joy.”
Ian Whitwood, Cross Rhythms, 15th April 2017
Cross Rhythms was started by Chris and Kerry Cole over 30 years ago. They saw that a media voice for the Christian faith was vital to get the Christian response to society’s ills back into the marketplace of everyday lives.
The radio began in 1983 with a half-hour programme on Plymouth Sound, an ILR station in Devon. The magazine was first published in April 1990, the first festival was held in 1991, the website was initially launched in 1995, the first Community Radio licence was awarded in 2002, the Media Training Centre was launched in 2012 and a Cross Rhythms supported online radio station in Bethlehem was launched in 2015.
Through all these mediums, Cross Rhythms is typified by using contemporary Christian music that can culturally engage with people who are outside the churches in today’s society. Cross Rhythms has also looked to communicate the Christian faith in a language that is accessible to contemporary culture but doesn’t water down it’s truths.
Visit website: Cross Rhythms
Convivium Records is a private recording, production, and distribution label, based in London, UK, provides cost conscious opportunities for composers, performers, educators and students to release and market their music on disc and online globally to professional studio standard. With a range of label artists from contemporary British composers to cathedral choirs, performers and vocal ensembles, the label offers expertise across all aspects of private and commercial productions, with a team of engineers, performers, directors, producers and designers supporting projects from concept to album delivery and marketing.
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