COMPOSERS: Bruckner,Crotch,Demessieux,Harvey,Moore,Morley,Purcell,Smith & Stone,Stanford
ALBUM TITLE: The Feast of St Edward, King and Confessor
PERFORMER: Choir of Westminister Abbey/James O’Donnell; Robert Quinney (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67586
Edward the Confessor was a figure of major importance in the development of Westminster Abbey, and in 2005 the Abbey celebrated the millennium of his birth. This CD compiles what Master of the Choristers James O’Donnell describes as ‘music you might hear on the Feast of the Translation of Edward,’ covering the three major choral services which occur on this annual occasion.
Matins is dominated by Stanford’s typically rousing Service in C, in which early notice is served of how well the Abbey’s boy choristers are currently singing, with fresh, unfettered tonal production and fluid unanimity of diction. Centrepiece of the Eucharist is contemporary composer Jonathan Harvey’s striking Missa Brevis, which crams a wealth of incident into its 11 minutes, including shouted text, difficult, dissonant intervals, and what O’Donnell terms a ‘babble of praise’ at the conclusion of the Gloria.
Evensong also has contemporary content (Philip Moore’s anthem ‘The King and the Robin’, a 2005 millennium commission), alongside Purcell’s delicately crafted Service in G minor. An admirably varied programme, with excellent Hyperion recording. Terry Blain