This Is The Day

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Britten,Elgar,Mealor,Rutter,Schubert,Taverner,Walton
LABELS: Collegium
ALBUM TITLE: This Is The Day
WORKS: Music on the Royal Occaisions: Rutter: The is the Day which the Lord hath made; Britten: Choral Dances from Gloriana; Elgar: The spirit of the Lord; Mealor: Ubi Caritas; Taverner: Song for Athene; Walton: Set me as a seal; Schubert: Psalm 23
PERFORMER: Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano); The Cambridge Singers; Aurora Orchestra/John Rutter; Andrew Lucas

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This recording initially looks like a hastily assembled Jubilee cash-in, but on closer inspection it turns out to be a newly recorded selection of music heard at royal events over the past eight decades. The programme starts with This is the Day, the anthem written by John Rutter for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton last year. I find it sugar-sweet and rather sickly: I’m probably in a minority.

The remainder of the CD is richly enjoyable, and features some excellent solo singing. Soprano Elin Manahan Thomas is impressive with her poise and limpidity in Mozart’s ‘Laudate Dominum’, from the Vesperae solennes de confessore, and sparkles in the sprightly, joyful account of Handel’s Let the bright seraphim which closes the programme. Choir member Simon Wall declaims the solo tenor part in William McKie’s We wait for thy loving kindness (written for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip) with measured sensitivity, while tenor Benjamin Alden and soprano Alison Hill anchor an ardently committed performance of Walton’s Set me as a seal upon thine heart.

The Cambridge Singers, outstandingly fresh and communicative throughout under John Rutter’s expert, energising direction, excel particularly in a superbly buoyant, incisive performance of the ‘Choral Dances’ from Britten’s Gloriana. In the quieter, more introspective Holy is the true light  by William Harris they maintain a laudable internal balance and unanimity of purpose.

The concisely informative booklet notes, including full texts and documentation, are exemplary. Of its type, this is a virtually unimproveable collection.

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Terry Blain