Stanford • Parry

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Parry,Stanford
ALBUM TITLE: Stanford • Parry
WORKS: Stanford: Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in A, G, B flat and C; Parry: I was glad; Te Deum in D; Blest Pair of Sirens; Jerusalem
PERFORMER: Carolyn Sampson (soprano); David Wilson-Johnson (bass); the king’s Consort and Choir/Robert King


A new label, and something very special to put on it: this is the hundredth CD made by The King’s Consort, and it explores thrillingly new territory, applying historical performance practices to a pair of composers who have never previously had the period-instrument treatment on record.

The results are a revelation. In the opening Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in A by Stanford, the leanness of gut strings lends edge and urgency to the orchestral writing, which perfectly complements the punchy attack of the three dozen choral singers. There’s not a trace here of Victorian self-satisfaction or stuffiness.

The cello phrasing at the opening of the Nunc dimittis is superbly pliant and expressive and there’s a wonderfully ardent climax, capped by burnished trumpets, on the word ‘glory’. The Willis organ of Hereford Cathedral is spirited in, via Hauptwerk digital technology, bolstering the lower textures.

Other highlights include the gorgeous opening to Stanford’s Magnificat in G, with radiant solo work by soprano Carolyn Sampson; and an account of Parry’s I was Glad, brimming with majesty and elation; the soaring eloquence of the men’s voices in the B flat Nunc dimittis; and a stirring Jerusalem. Conductor Robert King shapes each piece in masterly fashion.

This CD, full of incandescent, hugely committed music-making, will be an award-winner. You simply have to hear it.


Terry Blain