Howells: Psalm-Preludes, Sets 1 & 2; St Paul’s Service; Three Rhapsodies

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COMPOSERS: Howells
LABELS: Hyperion Dyad
WORKS: Psalm-Preludes, Sets 1 & 2; St Paul’s Service; Three Rhapsodies
PERFORMER: Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral/John Scott; Christopher Dearnley (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CDD 22038 Reissue (1988, 1990)
This is a sensible pairing of two previously separate discs – one anthems, the other organ music. The alternation of organ and voices here works well, lending more of a liturgical feel, and providing breathing space for the vocal works. Place was important to Howells – when writing his St Paul’s Service he did so with the vast spaces of the London cathedral in mind. So it’s wonderful to hear that building’s resonant acoustics captured in these recordings with stunning immediacy. Whether it’s Dearnley’s meditative performances from the organ loft or the exceptional singing from the choir, you really feel as if you’ve wandered into the building during a service. Janet Banks

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