Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Coronation Anthems (1727)
Zadok the Priest HWV 258
Let thy Hand be strengthened HWV 259
The King shall rejoice HWV 260
My Heart is inditing HWV 261 *
Silete Venti for Soprano and Strings HWV 242 (1742) +
Rebecca Ryan (soprano) +
Elizabeth Franklin-Kitchen (soprano) *
David Bates (counter-tenor) *
Edward Lyon (tenor) *
Nicholas Warden (bass) *
Tallis Chamber Choir
Royal Academy Consort/Jeremy Summerly
Recorded in Dukes Hall, Royal Academy of Music, London in February and April 2002
NAXOS 8.557003 [66.28]


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The relative novelty here is Sileti Venti, a motet for soprano and strings – and a substantial one – that is a significant attraction in its own right in the otherwise overstocked pool of Coronation Anthems. Jeremy Summerly directs the Tallis Chamber Choir, bright and firmly focused, and the Royal Academy Consort, which is drawn from postgraduate and final-year undergraduate students there. They are, in the words of the booklet notes, a modern-instrument Baroque orchestra and they apply themselves with thoughtful imagination to their parts. There is for example a splendid first trumpet – I assume Adam Wright – in Zadok the Priest and he is joined by some fine delineation of the string figuration here. At first I thought the acoustic of Duke’s Hall at the Royal Academy unhelpfully recessed the choral contribution but it soon emerged as a just balance. Let thy hand be strengthened is especially successful; this Anthem, scored without trumpet or drums, here generates considerable gravity, the Tallis Chamber Choir successfully vesting its collective tone with an admonitory sternness. Contrast that with the airy certainties of The King shall rejoice – strong choral entries and fluent brass once more; in Exceeding glad (a feature of the disc is the separate banding of each verse) there is a delightfully well-realised shaping to the contour of the line, the choir softened in tone, violin entries crisp and well articulated, the orchestral colour apt and suggestive. The concluding Alleluia is notable for a dramatically bold four-second gap before the final flourish. Too much for me I have to admit. Finally My Heart is inditing is again well negotiated; the solo voices in the first verse are attractive and not over scaled and there is good string weight and sense of direction – airborne and buoyant – in Upon thy right hand. When it comes to the concluding verse the clarity of diction of the choir is complemented by the clarity of orchestral texture and the genuine head of steam built up.

Rebecca Ryan is the soprano soloist in Sileti Venti. New Zealand born it was Ryan who gave the British premiere of the recently (re) discovered Handel Gloria. This is her first disc and it highlights a distinct talent in the making. The motet is a test of characterization and technique as much as the soloist’s ability to encompass pastoral as well as drama-laden runs, from the operatic to the masque, with a strong component of recitative. A microcosm of contemporary performance practice in fact. She shapes the lines Dulcis amor (Sweet love) with real sensitivity and her expressive diminuendos inflect the text with shades of meaning. She is equally adept in the more florid moments too; Date serta has some fluid runs, brought off with winning panache. This is a sprightly and capricious Motet and it’s carried off with equal aplomb.

Jonathan Woolf

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