WORKS: Utrecht’ Te Deum and Jubilate; I was glad; Lord, Thou hast been our Refuge
PERFORMER: Edward Burrowes, Timothy Burtt, Alastair Cook (trebles), Julia Gooding, Sophie Daneman (soprano), Robin Blaze, Ashley Stafford (countertenor), Rogers Covey-Crump, Mark Le Brocq (tenor), Andrew Dale Forbes (bass); St Paul’s Cathedral Choir, Parley of Instr
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67009
Destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, St Paul’s Cathedral was rebuilt over the next three decades and officially reopened in 1697. The music played at the reconsecration included a Te Deum and Jubilate by Purcell, who had died just two years earlier, and John Blow’s anthem I was glad when they said unto me, written for the occasion. Blow’s short, disjunct choral sections frame a lovely countertenor duo and a briefly effusive exchange for high tenor and two trumpets.
Handel wrote his ‘Utrecht’ Te Deum and Jubilate in 1713 to celebrate the signing of a European peace treaty. The first major religious work in English that he set, it confirmed his status as London’s leading composer-in-residence. His interweaving of solo and choral lines, as in ‘The glorious company of the apostles’, is subtly ingenious, though the blazing colours of the opening and closing choruses are no less effective. Strong choral movements also characterise William Boyce’s 1755 anthem Lord, Thou hast been our Refuge (here receiving its first recording), though the high point is the tender tenor solo, ‘Yea, like as a father’.
With polished performances from all concerned, and Robin Blaze and Rogers Covey-Crump outstanding, this disc can be warmly recommended. Graham Lock