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Glorious Majesty
Music for English Kings and Queens
Various artists
Full Track-List at end of review
EMI CLASSICS 3272852 [3 CDs: 72:12 + 76:44 + 78:28]

Experience Classicsonline



This budget collection offers great value in terms of playing time and the highest quality in terms of performance and sound. All just as one would expect from EMI. It’s clearly been marketed as part of the Jubilee celebrations but putting that to one side it can be warmly welcomed from a purely musical standpoint.
 
Stephen Cleobury’s collection of Handel’s Coronation Anthems (Academy of Ancient Music and Choir of King’s College Cambridge) is one of the best currently available with great articulation and verve. The sparkling recording is slightly recessed but the actual choral tone is full and splendid. Zadok the Priest really zips along and the first entrance of the chorus produces a moment of true frisson. Cleobury also directs an outstanding performance of Eternal Source of Light Divine in which counter-tenor Robin Blaze really shines. The sound is bright, clear and beautifully balanced. The third Handel work in the set is the Music for the Royal Fireworks with Sir Roger Norrington directing the London Classical Players. The playing is of the highest order and Norrington ensures that everything is tight and clear with plenty of detail emerging from the orchestra. So that’s one CD’s worth of top recommendations so far. 

The next recordings were set down in 1977, the year of the Silver Jubilee. These were conducted by Sir Philip Ledger and comprise the Coronation Ode by Elgar and I Was Glad by Parry. They are presented in spectacular sound with more than ample reverberation from the Abbey setting. This kind of sound doesn’t always work but the results achieved here are magnificent. It’s impossible not to get carried away in such a massive, thrilling aural experience. Both performances are inspired and moving.
 
Turning now to Purcell, Cleobury directs a moving account of the Funeral Music for Queen Mary. The four trumpet soloists play wonderfully well and capture the serious, melancholy atmosphere perfectly. I hadn’t come across Davis Munrow’s 1976 recording of Come ye sons of Art away before but it offers the kind of impeccable musicianship generally associated with his work with the Early Music Consort of London. The contributions from counter-tenors James Bowman and Charles Brett are excellent with very good intonation - not always to be taken for granted in music such as this!
 
Glorious Majesty would be fine value as a 2 CD set containing all the works mentioned thus far. On that basis the third disc can be regarded as something of a bonus, containing shorter orchestral and choral pieces … and very good it is too. EMI has a superb back catalogue of Walton and Elgar conducted by Boult and Groves. The inclusion of some of their work is most welcome. O hearken Thou conducted by Richard Hickox is one of the highlights of the set with the London Symphony Chorus excelling themselves especially in the piano passages. This is wonderful singing. It’s also good to have some of Uri Segal’s work back in circulation. He rounds things off nicely with the lively, entertaining Gloriana Suite by Britten recorded with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1982.
 
For the more serious collector, this is a snip at around £10 even if it could mean duplicating some of the items on offer. I enjoyed the whole thing enormously.  

John Whitmore

see also review by Michael Greenhalgh 
 
Full Track-List

CD 1:
Handel
1 Zadok the Priest: Zadok the Priest 1:50
2 Zadok the Priest: And all the people rejoic'd 0:47
3 Zadok the Priest: God save the King 2:47
4 Let thy hand be strengthened: Let thy hand be strengthened 3:02
5 Let thy hand be strengthened: Let justice and judgement 2:33
6 Let thy hand be strengthened: Alleluia! 2:06
7 The King shall rejoice: The King shall rejoice 2:44
8 The King shall rejoice: Exceeding glad shall he be 2:55
9 The King shall rejoice: Glory and worship 0:31
10 The King shall rejoice: Thou hast prevented him 2:15
11 The King shall rejoice: Alleluia! 2:46
12 My heart is inditing: My heart is inditing 2:44
13 My heart is inditing: Kings' daughters 2:57
14 My heart is inditing: Upon thy right hand 2:48
15 My heart is inditing: Kings shall be thy nursing fathers 3:01
Byrd
16 Anthem: O Lord make thy servant Elizabeth 2:42
Purcell
17 Come ye sons of art away - Birthday Ode for Queen Mary (1694) Z323 (1990 Digital Remaster): Symphony (Largo - Allegro - Adagio) 3:35
18 Come ye sons of art away - Birthday Ode for Queen Mary (1694) Z323 (1990 Digital Remaster): Come ye sons of art away (ritornello, ct I verse & chorus) 2:10
19 Come ye sons of art away - Birthday Ode for Queen Mary (1694) Z323 (1990 Digital Remaster): Sound the trumpet (ct I & II verse) 2:45
20 Come ye sons of art away - Birthday Ode for Queen Mary (1694) Z323 (1990 Digital Remaster): Come ye sons of art away (ritornello & chorus) 1:32
21 Come ye sons of art away - Birthday Ode for Queen Mary (1694) Z323 (1990 Digital Remaster): Strike the viol (ct II verse & ritornello) 4:49
22 Come ye sons of art away - Birthday Ode for Queen Mary (1694) Z323 (1990 Digital Remaster): The day that such a blessing gave (bass verse & chorus) 3:12
23 Come ye sons of art away - Birthday Ode for Queen Mary (1694) Z323 (1990 Digital Remaster): Bid the Virtues (sop. verse) 3:05
24 Come ye sons of art away - Birthday Ode for Queen Mary (1694) Z323 (1990 Digital Remaster): These are the sacred charms (bass verse) 1:49
25 Come ye sons of art away - Birthday Ode for Queen Mary (1694) Z323 (1990 Digital Remaster): See Nature rejoicing (sop. & bass verse & chorus) 3:10
26 Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary 1695: March Z860i 1:49
27 Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary 1695: Canzona Z860ii - March (Recessional) 3:01
28 Funeral Anthem of Queen Mary 1695: Thou knowest, Lord, Z.58c 2:33
 
CD 2:
Handel
1 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine): 1. Eternal source of light divine 3:18
2 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine): 2. The day that gave great Anna birth 2:41
3 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine): 3. Let all the wingèd race with joy 2:35
4 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine): 4. Let flocks and herds their fear forget - 1:43
5 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine): The day that gave 0:39
6 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine): 5. Let rolling streams their gladness show 2:26
7 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine): 6. Kind Health descends on downy wings 4:29
8 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine): 7. The day that gave great Anna birth 1:46
9 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine): 8. Let Envy then conceal her head 2:26
10 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine): 9. United nations shall combine - 1:27
11 Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine): The day that gave 1:42
12 Music for the Royal Fireworks: I. Ouverture 7:55
13 Music for the Royal Fireworks: II. Bourrée 1:39
14 Music for the Royal Fireworks: III. La Paix 2:53
15 Music for the Royal Fireworks: IV. La Réjouissance 2:08
16 Music for the Royal Fireworks: V. Menuet I & II 3:27
Elgar
17 Coronation Ode, Op.44 (1987 - Remaster): I. Crown the King 10:10
18 Coronation Ode, Op.44 (1987 - Remaster): IIa. The Queen 2:21
19 Coronation Ode, Op.44 (1987 - Remaster): IIb. Daughter of ancient Kings 1:33
20 Coronation Ode, Op.44 (1987 - Remaster): III. Britain, ask of thyself 3:48
21 Coronation Ode, Op.44 (1987 - Remaster): IV. Hark, upon the hallowed air...Only let the heart be pure 7:25
22 Coronation Ode, Op.44 (1987 - Remaster): V. Peace, gentle Peace 3:34
23 Coronation Ode, Op.44 (1987 - Remaster): VI. Land of hope and glory 4:31

CD 3:
Elgar
1 Imperial March, Op.32 4:24
2 O hearken thou (Offertory) Op. 64 4:08
3 Coronation March Op. 65 (1998 Digital Remaster) 10:45
4 Nursery Suite (1989 Digital Remaster): IV. The Sad Doll (Andantino) 1:51
Parry
5 I was glad (1988 - Remaster) 6:45
Walton
6 Crown Imperial - Coronastion March (1937) (1995 Digital Remaster) 8:31
7 Coronation Te Deum (1987 Digital Remaster) 9:19
8 Orb and Sceptre - Coronation March (1953) (1995 Digital Remaster) 6:47
Vaughan Williams
9 O taste and see 1:41
10 All people that on earth do dwell (The Old Hundredth) 4:56
Britten
11 Jubilate Deo (1961) (2004 - Remaster) 2:28
12 Gloriana - Symphonic Suite from the opera Op. 53a: I. The Tournament 3:57
13 Gloriana - Symphonic Suite from the opera Op. 53a: III. The Courtly Dances 9:51
14 The National Anthem (arr. Elgar) (1995 Digital Remaster) 2:45

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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