The Marian Collection


Music in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, including five newly-commissioned pieces from the Merton Choirbook.

A new work by Judith Weir heads a set of the four Marian antiphons, all specially commissioned from women composers; while two further première recordings represent the work of regular Merton collaborators Gabriel Jackson and Matthew Martin.

At the other end of the chronological spectrum, Peter Phillips' expert direction of Byrd's rarely performed 'Salve Regina', a bold statement of Catholic faith from Reformation England, and of John Nesbett's late fifteenth-century 'Magnificat' completes this portrait in sound of a woman who—as characterised in Alexandra Coghlan's illuminating booklet essay—is at once virgin and mother, human and God-bearer, suppliant and Queen of Heaven.


The jutting vocal fanfares of [Weir’s] Ave Regina caelorum set a brightly celebratory atmosphere at the disc’s beginning… The seven-part writing of Hannah Kendall’s numinous Regina caeli is lucidly balanced out by the singers… Of the other works the glowing Magnificat of 15th-century composer John Nesbitt is particularly notable, bringing gleaming work from the sopranos in particular.

BBC Music Magazine, Awards Issue 2015

★★★★★ A fascinating and finely executed collection of anthems and motets… The 35-strong mixed voice choir possess perfect intonation and blend… this is not a disc to be missed.

Choir & Organ, March/April 2015

The Delphian engineers capture superbly this excellent choir in its home chapel and one of the main delights of the programme is precisely the engaging mix of early and contemporary music.

Early Music Review, February 2015

★★★★★ Delphian scores yet another choral hit with this exceptional and fascinating collection themed around musical representations of the Virgin Mary. And once again, Merton College Choir is the immaculate vehicle for performances that encompass the old and the new.

The Scotsman, January 2015

Astonishing versatility ... a stimulating programme ... put over with passion, aplomb and utter respect for the composers' intentions.

Gramophone magazine, December 2014

This arresting sequence is of old and new representations of the Virgin. Judith Weir’s vigorous, beautifully fresh Ave Regina caelorum is the first of four such Marian antiphons commissioned from women, the others being Kerry Andrew, Hannah Kendall and Dobrinka Tabakova, the results all striking.

Sunday Times, December 2014

Track listing

Judith Weir – Ave Regina caelorum

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – Alma Redemptoris mater

John Tavener – Mother of God, here I stand

Kerry Andrew – Salve Regina

John Nesbett – Magnificat

Hannah Kendall – Regina caeli

William Byrd – Salve Regina

Igor Stravinsky – Ave Maria

Dobrinka Tabakova – Alma Redemptoris mater

Gabriel Jackson – I say that we are wound with mercy

Robert Parsons – Ave Maria

John Tavener – A Hymn to the Mother of God

John Tavener – Hymn for the Dormition of the Mother of God

Matthew Martin – Salve sedes sapientiae

Anton Bruckner – Ave Maria

The Marian Collection - CD cover