Mass of the Dreaming Brisbane Chamber Choir Tall Poppies At first hearing, the 10 pieces on this album, billed as “the first recording of Australian sacred choral music to be recorded by an Australian choir”, sound remarkably similar. It’s the sort of glorious sound we have come to expect from the English cathedral tradition: mellifluous, serene, glowing, ruminative and restorative. It’s also the signature sound of this impressive choir, another jewel in Brisbane’s lustrous choral crown. They sing in the rich resonance of St John’s Cathedral, where conductor Graeme Morton has been director of music for many years. This recording captures the reverberant glow of the cathedral and the texts, mostly Latin and liturgical in origin. Much of the music was commissioned by the choir, including the Mass of the Dreaming (2009) by Ross Edwards. More contemplation than celebration, the composer admits, this is a heartfelt and deeply moving work that deserves to be taken up by choirs the world over. Surprisingly, the most advancedsounding work on the album is also the oldest, the Exultate Dominum (1961) by the 26-year-old Nigel Butterley, its Stravinskian throbbing delivered in perfect rhythmic unison by the 20 young choristers. Pairs of liturgical settings by Andrew Schultz and Stephen Leek call for novel touches, including Tibetan overtone singing. The works of younger composers Joseph Twist and Keren Terpstra indicate talents still in progress, whereas short pieces by Paul Stanhope and Matthew Orlovich are deeply satisfying in their originality as well as their functionality. This is a recording that rewards repeated listening. You don’t need to be a believer in a supreme being. It’s enough to believe in the extraordinary power of music to calm and purify the mind.