Holst: The Hymn of Jesus; Choral Symphony

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

WORKS: The Hymn of Jesus; Choral Symphony
PERFORMER: Felicity Palmer (soprano)Choristers of St Paul’s Cathedral Choir, London Symphony Chorus, LPO/Charles Groves; LPO & Choir/Adrian Boult
CATALOGUE NO: CDM 5 65128 2 ADD(1978/74)
Although Groves’s view of Holst’s masterpiece The Hymn of Jesus has atmosphere enough and fine playing by the LPO, the choral singing, particularly in the ‘Divine Grace is dancing…’ section, sounds muddied and relatively undistinguished. The Hickox/Chandos alternative is far more expressive and exciting. Budget buyers should consider Boult’s superb and deeply moving Decca recording. It is Boult’s splendid performance of Holst’s much underrated and misunderstood Choral Symphony that’s the attraction here. Boult illuminates Keats’s evocative poetry and clarifies Holst’s richly inventive design. Felicity Palmer sings radiantly and the choir shines, particularly in the swiftly moving, quicksilver Scherzo, ‘Fancy-Folly’s Song’. Ian Lace