Restoration Music from Westminster Abbey
William CHILD (1606-1697) O praise the Lord [2.41]
John BLOW (1649-1708) Voluntary in A [2.29]; God is our hope and strength [3.20]; Venite [3.35]
William TURNER (1651-1740) Psalm 113 [2.35]
John BLOW Voluntary in D minor [2.43]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Benedicite [7.30]; Benedictus [4.26]; O Lord God of hosts [4.29]
John BLOW Voluntary in D minor [3.14]; Salvator mundi, salva nos [3.44]
Henry PURCELL Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei [6.27]; Voluntary in D minor [3.35]; Hear my prayer, O Lord [2.26]
William TURNER Psalm 54 [2.37]
Henry PURCELL Voluntary in C major [1.27]; Magnificat [3.54]; Nunc dimittis [1.58]; Lord, how long wilt thou be angry [3.49]; Voluntary in G major [3.07]
The Choir of Westminster Abbey/James O Donnell
Robert Quinney (organ)
rec. Westminster Abbey, 11-12, 22-23 June 2009. DDD
HYPERION CDA67792 [70.06]

This superb disc presents music associated with Westminster Abbey; that would most likely have been sung by the Choir of the Abbey in the late 1670s and early 1680s. It is here performed in the Abbey itself by the current Choir, conducted with flair and proficiency by James O’Donnell.

The programme includes four canticles from the Service in B flat by the most famous organist of Westminster Abbey, Purcell - in which Service the great composer set all the available Office texts. These are interspersed with anthems and motets as well as voluntaries by Purcell and Blow – who had been the organist at the Abbey both before and after Purcell. The voluntaries are here played by Robert Quinney with both virtuosity and elegance.

The disc opens with a work by William Child, who wrote a vast amount of music for the restored Anglican Church after the Commonwealth. From the very first note of Child’s O Praise the Lord, it is clear that the Choir are going to live up to their outstanding reputation.

The other composer to be featured is William Turner - a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal and a Lay Vicar at the Abbey. Two chants by him appear here – the Psalms 113 and 54, which the Choir imbue with great beauty and musicality. Other highlights of the programme include Blow’s God is our hope and strength, and Hear my prayer, O Lord, one of Purcell’s most powerful works – here given an exultant and radiant performance.

My only criticism is that the men – on occasion – appear slightly to lack conviction and purpose when exposed. The boys, on the other hand, are superb throughout; a bit breathy maybe but nevertheless extremely beautiful and with superb intonation. They sing with both clarity of diction and with intelligence and imagination.

A lovely programme; pleasing sound and balance, and some exquisite music-making.

Em Marshall

A lovely programme; pleasing sound and balance, and some exquisite music-making.