Tomkins: Cathedral Music

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LABELS: Hyperion Helios
WORKS: Cathedral Music
PERFORMER: Choir of St George’s Chapel, Windsor/Christopher Robinson; Roger Judd (organ)
CATALOGUE NO: CDH 55066 Reissue (1989)
This reissue from 1989 says two things loud and clear. First, it proves how much the singing of many cathedral choirs has gained in confidence and in brightness of timbre as training has become ever more refined since the late Eighties. Second, it proclaims the understated sensuality of Thomas Tomkins’s beautifully conceived sacred music, music that represents the generation succeeding Byrd. The ever so slight fragility of the boys of St George’s Chapel Choir is nothing to get too exercised by. It actually suits this intimate, refined art – 11 verse and full anthems and the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis from the Third Service – very well. The conductor, Christopher Robinson, ensures poised performances all round. Stephen Pettitt