COMPOSERS: Collection: A New Heaven
WORKS: Works by Parry, Wood, Harris, Stanford, Bairstow, Goodall etc
PERFORMER: The Sixteen/Harry Christophers
CATALOGUE NO: 179 5732
This CD would appear to have the word parochial written all over it – music for a particular church (Anglican), by composers active in a particular country (England), in a style redolently and unapologetically English, and hopelessly out of fashion.
From the outset, though, the consistently elevated quality of the music (and the music-making) belies facile categorisation, as Hubert Parry’s glorious Coronation anthem ‘I was glad’ unfolds in waves of increasing elation and broad, sweeping lyricism. It’s a tremendous performance by The Sixteen, and it’s an effective composition.
There are many others like it, including Herbert Howells’s ‘Like as the Hart’ and ‘Hail, gladdening light’ by Charles Wood, incisively shaped here by Harry Christophers.
Two restrained settings of ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (by Howard Goodall and John Rutter) represent the output of a younger generation.
These are proud, expansive, superlatively sung performances, bravely aiming, via a major label, to plant this music firmly on the stage of broader international recognition. Terry Blain