Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983)
Jubilate Deo (1967) [4:29]
Thee Will I Love (1970) [5:47]
The Winchester Service (1967) [10:25]
Rhapsody No. 4 (1958) [6:52]
Come, my soul (1972) [4:29]
Te Deum (1965) [12:02]
Coventry Antiphon (1961) [4:49]
A Flourish for the Bidding (1969) [3:20]
Antiphon (1976) [4:03]
The Fear of the Lord (1976) [5:46]
Exultate Deo (1974) [6:22]
Simon Bell (organ); Winchester Cathedral Choir/Andrew Lumsden
rec. 22-25 March 2010, Winchester Cathedral, U.K.
HYPERION CDA67853 [68:30]

Experience Classicsonline

A glance at the label, repertoire and performers is enough to tell us that this disc will be a winner, and so it turns out to be. It seems almost impudent to review it.
The title of the collection is “The Winchester Service and other late works”. There are nine choral works, some with organ accompaniment, and two pieces for organ alone. The music Howells composed towards the end of his long life has been neglected, and even admirers of the composer will probably find some new things here. His music became more uncompromising in later life, with harsher dissonances and fewer allowances made in respect of difficulty, either for the performers or the audience. What remains, however, is the acute ear for choral and organ textures, the generous and eloquent response to words, and that famous soaring quality that has so often been described as ecstatic.
Typical of Howells’ later style is the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis he composed in 1967 for Winchester Cathedral. Pretty much gone are the harmonies based on piled up thirds and sixths, to be replaced, in music no less grand and sonorous, by a strangely potent mix of richness and austerity. The work begins with a long passage for the trebles alone, and once the other voices enter the music soon rises to considerable dramatic heights. The Doxology (“Glory be to the Father”) of the Magnificat ends with a spectacular cadence, and that of the Nunc Dimittis would seem to be heading in the same direction, except that Howells reserves a surprise for us. Less immediately attractive than the Services for King’s, St John’s or, one of my own favourites, New College, Oxford, this is just as satisfying in its own way, and is, like all the music on this disc, an essential element in understanding the whole of Howells’ output.
From the same year comes a Jubilate Deo, composed for the Chapel Royal. I had never heard this work before, and its startling originality and near-ecstatic Doxology and final Amens were enough to make me play it again straight away. Thee Will I Love, to words by Robert Bridges, a dramatic affirmation of faith with a particularly ravishing final cadence, will be another welcome discovery for many. The unaccompanied motet Come, my soul was dedicated to Howells’ friend and Royal College of Music colleague Richard Latham. The text, by John Newton, is another affirmation, the speaker serene in the knowledge that Christ will welcome him into Heaven. Even so, it is the final line that receives the full treatment: “Lead me to my journey’s end” closes the work in quiet contemplation of that journey wherein even those secure in their faith will feel apprehension at what lies ahead.
The Te Deum Howells wrote to celebrate the restoration of the church of St Mary Redcliffe in Bristol is spectacular in scope, effect and the demands made of the performers. One expects a shattering major chord finish, then a minor chord seems to be on the way, but the composer adds another mysterious minute or so to close the work with no third, major or minor, at all.
Another exquisite cadence, and music closer to Howells’ earlier style, closes the Coventry Antiphon, composed for the consecration of Coventry Cathedral. Not so Antiphon, composed for the Bach Choir and first performed by them in 1977. Composed to George Herbert’s familiar words “Let all the world in every corner sing”, this is Howells at his most uncompromising, to the point that many might have difficulty recognising the composer in it. It sounds fiendishly difficult too. The Fear of the Lord, despite its title, reflects on that faith that brings “rejoicing”, “gladness”, “a merry heart” and “a long life”. The first half of the piece is forceful, but even more striking is the extraordinarily eloquent second half, wherein the eighty-four year-old composer sets the words “Whoso feareth the Lord…shall find favour in the day of his death.” The programme closes with the gloriously festive Exultate Deo Howells composed in 1974 for the enthronement of the Bishop of Lincoln.
Slightly allergic to organ music, I feel less qualified to comment on the solo pieces. The Rhapsody is the last of a series of four, though the preceding three were all composed in the second decade of the twentieth century. Where the earlier pieces tend to be pensive, even pastoral in atmosphere, this one is dramatic and striking. The spiky A Flourish for a Bidding is more dramatic still. We learn from Paul Andrews’ excellent booklet note that this last piece was composed in aid of the Royal College of Organists, and, as the title might lead us to think, the manuscript was auctioned. The lucky bidder was the publisher Novello, at £21, a remarkable bargain, one might think, even in 1969.
The two organ solos are splendidly played by Simon Bell. Articulation, choice of registration, the fabulous acoustic of Winchester Cathedral or all three make for admirably clear textures, something my admittedly prejudiced ears do not always find to be the case. The performances of the choral works are quite simply beyond praise and require no further comment from me. The recording is beautiful, bringing us fairly close to the choir whilst retaining a strong sense of the building. For seasoned Howells admirers, and, with the occasional health warning, for those beginning their Howells journey too, this disc is an absolute must.
William Hedley 











Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.