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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

 

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Choral Favourites from King’s
Gregorio ALLEGRI (1582-1652)
Miserere mei, Deus a 9 (vv.1-4 & 17-20) †+ [5:45]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Ave verum corpus K618 (1791) †~ [3:03]
Thomas TALLIS (c1505-1585)
If ye love me * [2:23]
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Gloria in excelsis Deo from Gloria RV589 †^ [2:23]
John TAVENER (b. 1944)
The Lamb (1982) † [3:28]
John RUTTER (b. 1945)
Requiem aeternam from Requiem (1985) †$ [5:35]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
Rejoice in the Lord alway *# [8:08]
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah (1742) % [4:23]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring from Cantata 147 % [3:30]
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
The heavens are telling from The Creation (1798) § [4:43]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Gott ist mein Hirt (Psalm 23) D706 *¤ [5:00]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Agnus Dei from Requiem (1888) ¢ [5:26]
Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934)
To be sung of a summer night on the water I * [2:10]
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
The Birth of Nicolas from Saint Nicolas (1948) £ [2:35]
There is no rose from A Ceremony of Carols (1942) ¥ [2:20]
William HARRIS (1883-1973)
Faire is the heaven [4:43]
Charles WOOD (1866-1926)
Hail, gladdening light (1919) [3:07]
John DYKES (1823-1876) arr. David Willcocks
Holy, holy, holy º [2:43]
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Land of hope and glory from Coronation Ode (1902) *µ [4:32]
Timothy Beasley-Murray (treble) +; Gerald Finley (baritone) +; Stephen Layton (organ) ~; Michael Cockerham (alto) #; Andrew King (tenor) #;Nicholas Hayes (bass) #; Francis Grier (organ) #; Heather Harper (soprano) §; Robert Tear (tenor) §£; Sir Philip Ledger (piano) ¤; John Wells (organ) ¢; Bruce Russell (treble) £; Andrew Davis and Ian Hare (piano) £; Ossian Ellis (harp) ¥; Ian Hare (organ) º; Dame Felicity Lott (soprano) µ; Alfreda Hodgson (alto) µ; Richard Morton (tenor) µ; Stephen Roberts (bass) µ.
Cambridge Classical Players ~; Academy of Ancient Music ^; City of London Sinfonia $; Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields #%§¢£; Phillip Jones Brass Ensemble º; Cambridge University Musical Society Chorus µ; Band of the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall µ; New Philharmonia Orchestra µ.
Choir of King’s College, Cambridge/Sir David Willcocks; Sir Philip Ledger*; Stephen Cleobury†.
Rec. no information given.  ADD/DDD (Allegri, Mozart, Tallis, Vivaldi, Tavener and Rutter).
EMI CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 0946 3 75943 2 2 [76:43]
 


This is a well filled disc of choral favourites, spiced with a few lesser known pieces and bolstered by the imposing reputation of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.

The highlights of this disc include a dancing Bell Anthem from Purcell, a bright excerpt from The Creation and very pretty Gott ist mein Hirt.  Only two contemporary composers, Britons John Tavener and John Rutter, are represented here, but both of their contributions receive committed and sensitive performances.  The performance of the Tavener is particularly good - hushed and mystical.  The Agnus Dei from Fauré’s Requiem also has real character and intensity, as does the Delius aquarelle that follows it. 

There are also a few weak spots.  The Allegri Miserere is given a pretty performance which lacks something in intensity and focuses more on those high Cs than on the meaning of the text of this psalm, David's plea for forgiveness after his adultery with Bathsheba.  The Hallelujah Chorus also feels a little low voltage. 

Most of the album, though, is good without being spectacular.  Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus receives lovingly gentle performance, as does Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, sung here in German.

Tallis’s motet, while sung sensitively, is so understated as to disappear between the more familiar Mozart and Vivaldi items that flank it. 

The programming of this disc is intelligent, with no jarring juxtapositions between the pieces, but enough contrast to maintain the listener’s interest and stave off aural fatigue.  All of the pieces included here are relatively short, which will also help listeners unaccustomed to classical music to enjoy the CD without becoming bored. 

I also like the choice of the last few tracks.  The performance of Dykes’ hymn is a bit ponderous, but the Harris, Wood and the Dykes items showcase what this choir does on a day to day basis as an integral part of a living, breathing Anglican chapel.  And how better to finish off a disc celebrating an English institution than with a roof-raising rendition of Elgar’s old chestnut?  Turn the volume up and wallow in it!

The liner notes, though brief, are appropriate for such a diverse collection as this. 

This compilation offers a decent overview of the life of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge over the last 35 years, under its last three directors.  You can certainly find better performances of some of the individual tracks included here, but these recordings are never less than fine and some are excellent.  At the price, you are unlikely to find a better album of choral favourites.  This would make a lovely gift for someone who enjoys classical or choral music but is relatively new to it.

Tim Perry 

 





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