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ORA's second album, Refuge from the Flames,  is based around the extraordinary and divisive figure of Girolamo Savonarola. Martyr to some and heretic to others, Savonarola was an incredible figure in 15th century Italy: responsible for establishing a republic in Florence and for the infamous Bonfire of the Vanities, he wrote his most famous text of Infelix Ego as a reflection on the Miserere Mei psalm whilst he was being tortured by the Catholic Church, and shortly before his execution for heresy.

Infelix Ego has been an inspiration to many composers, none less so than William Byrd, who took a substantial risk as a recusant Catholic setting such an inflammatory text in Elizabeth I’s protestant England. With the help of ORA100 we asked the award-winning Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds to write a reflection on Byrd’s masterpiece and we were blown away by the music that Ēriks presented us. Below is a video explaining Ēriks' commission, or if you would like to listen to the full album, please click here!



“ORA, conducted by Suzi Digby, has matched the celebrated Miserere by Allegri, with a new setting of the same text, radiant but anguished, by James MacMillan. Byrd’s heaven-sent Infelix Ego sits alongside a dense, soaring new version by Eriks Esenvalds. Performances  by ORA, 18 singers strong are first rate"

Richard Fairman – Financial Times, October 2016 **** 4 Stars

“Yet again, this group shows its considerable skill not only in expressive interpretation but in clarity of lines, subtletly of expression, and an ability to maintain an introspective atmosphere throughout.”

Shirley Ratcliffe, Choir and Organ, January 2017 ***** 5 Stars

“The singing, once again unaccompanied throughout, is as breathtaking as 'Upheld By Stillness' and once again we make the recommendation that listeners who appreciate

excellence in choral singing will want to add this to their collection. The closing setting of the Miserere is by the Scottish composer Sir James MacMillan and this on its own makes the disc indispensable. He catches the tone of the earlier pieces and builds on it as only he can with the singing reaching even greater heights. More please!”

Steven Whitehead – Cross Rhythms, October 2016

“This second disc by high-class chamber-choir newcomers Ora  draws together a varied but effortlessly coherent programme...Everything here is heard to best advantage, thanks to the choir’s clean, supple singing under Suzi Digby’s direction.”

Erica Jeal – The Guardian, October 2016 **** 4 Stars

“Suzi Digby y signe une belle réussite, agençant avec soin les plans sonores et soutenant la tension sans jamais aucune crispation... Cette alliance de la Renaissance et du récent nous invite à suivre avec intérêt l'aventure d'ORA.”

Benoît Fauchet - Diapason, Décembre 2016 **** 4 Diapasons

“Das Ensemble ORA, bestehend aus sechs Sopranen, vier Altos (drei davon männlich), vier Tenören und vier Bässen, zeichnet sich durch eine stupende technische Perfektion und im Vergleich zu den besten anderen britischen Formationen durch einen individuelleren, farbigeren Klang und eine höchst emotionale Interpretation aus. Zur Kunst kommt das Spontane, zu den Worten ein vor Intensität vibrierender Gesang. Das Hörerlebnis besticht neben meditativer Ruhe mittels Fluten eines unendlichen Vokalstroms, dessen ständig changierende Farbtextur genau so aufwühlt wie das Auf- und Abschwellen der Wasser, die mit dem Kiel der Partitur durchmessen wird. Für Liebhaber hochwertiger Chormusik ist dieses auch hochintelligent programmierte Album unverzichtbar.”

Dr. Ingobert Waltenberger- Online Merker, Januar 2017