COMPOSERS: Andrews & Smart,Glasser,Marenzio,Ortiz,Parry,Soler,Vivanco,Weelkes
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, Vol. 21
WORKS: Works by Vivanco, Ortiz, Weelkes, Marenzio, Soler, Parry, Glasser, Andrews & Smart
PERFORMER: Choir of St George’s Chapel, Windsor/Jonathan Rees-Williams
CATALOGUE NO: PRCD 634
Priory’s remarkable ‘Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis’ series has now topped the 20 mark. The bold range of repertoire encompassed, coupled with fine musicianship and high standards of delivery, underlines the wide improvements that have enhanced the English church music scene.
Hereford, Gloucester, Ely and Rochester are among the cathedral choirs that have made strong contributions to the series ; notable too are a disc of American settings from St.Thomas’s Church, Fifth Avenue, New York (PRCD 600), and a beautifully defined recent offering from St.George’s Church, Belfast (PRCD 633).
On this latest volume (21) the evocative continental boys’ sound that characterised St.George’s Chapel, Windsor’s past recordings for Hyperion cedes to a slightly more robust tone. There is the odd raw passage, but the choir balances are excellent. The disc features spirited Spanish repertoire (8-part Vivanco, Ortiz, and some Soler distinguished by attractive solo work), a lively full sound in Parry in D and Smart in B flat (each with a finely sustained Nunc Dimittis), and most strikingly, the vital African-tinged rhythms of Stanley Glasser’s vivid Latin setting, in which all voices excel and the boys are magical. H.K.Andrewes’s Magnificat in D, with its gorgeously soaring treble solo, is equally intoxicating. Roderic Dunnett