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Dream Land - Contemporary Choral Riches from the Hyperion Catalogue
Gabriel JACKSON (b. 1962) To Morning [2:26] (from CDA67708)
John TAVENER (b. 1944) As one who has slept [4:03] (CDA67475)
Morten LAURIDSEN (b. 1943) Ave, dulcissima Maria [7:04] (CDA67580)
Polyphony/Stephen Layton
Randall THOMPSON (1899-1984) Alleluia [6:15] (CDA67679)
Schola Cantorum of Oxford/James Burton
Pierre VILLETTE (1926-1998) O sacrum convivium [3:43] (CDA67539)
Veljo TORMIS (b. 1930) Äiutus (Lulling)** [2:12] (CDA67601)
Holst Singers/ Stephen Layton
Geoffrey BURGON (b. 1941) The Corpus Christi Carol [4:39] (CDA67567)
Wells Cathedral Choir/Matthew Owens
Antony PITTS (b. 1969) Adoro te [3:55] (CDA67507)
Tonus Peregrinus/Antony Pitts
Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Magnificat [6:56] (CDA66960)
Polyphony/Stephen Layton
Rihards DUBRA (b. 1964) Stetit Angelus [4:23] (CDA67799)
The Choir of Royal Holloway/Rupert Gough
James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) A Child’s Prayer [3:42] (CDA67219)
The Choir of Westminster Cathedral/Martin Baker
Bob CHILCOTT (b. 1955) The Shepherd’s Carol [3:09] (CDA67716)
The Choir of Westminster Abbey/James O’Donnell
Nicholas MAW (1935-2009) Balulalow [2:20] (CDA67615)
Schola Cantorum of Oxford/Mark Shepherd
Pawel LUKASZEWSKI (b. 1968) Nunc dimittis [4:20] (CDA67639)
The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge/ Stephen Layton
Ruth BYRCHMORE (b 1966) Song [6:20] (CDA67575)
Schola Cantorum of Oxford/Jeremy Summerly
Eric WHITACRE (b. 1970) Sleep [5:33] (CDA67543)
Polyphony/Stephen Layton
Original Texts and English translations included
HYPERION HYP41 [71:55]
Experience Classicsonline

The Hyperion catalogue is strong and enterprising. Over the years one of its most admirable features has been the steady stream of discs of a cappella choral music and these have included a good number of recitals of twentieth-century music. This attractive sampler includes an excellent and representative selection from some of the best of those discs.

I’m familiar with the majority of the CDs in question, either because I own copies or because I’ve reviewed several of them for MusicWeb International. Some of my colleagues have reviewed others and I’ve included the links to all the reviews in the header to this review.

Without exception the performances on this disc are out of the top drawer and the quality of the music is equally high. In those respects I can also assure readers that, so far as all the discs that I’ve heard are concerned, those statements apply equally to the complete recitals from which these extracts are taken. 
Among those pieces with which I’m acquainted I’d particularly draw attention to one or two. The Lauridsen offering is a fine piece and the full-throated, committed performance of Polyphony, atmospherically recorded, is fully worthy of it. Randall Thompson’s Alleluia is well known - and it’s very well served here - but the setting of O sacrum convivium by Villette is likely to be less familiar. It’s a notable piece, much more overt and ‘public’ in expression than the devotional setting of the same text by Messiaen. The pieces by MacMillan and Lukaszewski are also pretty marvellous and the respective performances are superb.

New to me was the setting of Balulalow by Nicholas Maw. It’s a lovely creation and this performance has prompted me to order the disc from which it’s taken. The offering from Ruth Byrchmore was a little less to my taste, though Gary Higginson’s review of the whole disc on which it’s included indicates that this recital, entitled ‘Children of Our Time’ is well worth the attention of collectors. On the evidence of the one extract included here, that’s also true of the disc devoted to the music of Latvian composer Rihards Dubra. I’ve never heard of this composer before but if the rest of the contents of Hyperion’s recent CD devoted to his music is as impressive as Stetit Angelus then that’s an omission I must hasten to rectify.

As I’ve said, this collection includes some impressive and very interesting music. It’s also a tribute to the extremely high standard of British choirs these days. Several of the nation’s best are showcased here and the quality of their performances and the assurance and conviction with which they tackle unfamiliar and challenging music is greatly to be admired.

For those unfamiliar with the repertoire included here I urge you to take this opportunity to sample the riches of this section of the Hyperion catalogue. And if that leads you on to acquire some of the discs represented then I hope you’ll get as much pleasure from them as I have had: I’m confident that will be the case.

John Quinn



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