Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983)
Te Deum and Jubilate [11:31]
O pray for the peace of Jerusalem [6:21]
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (Gloucester service) [10:30]
We have heard with our ears [4:36]
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (Hereford Service) [8:47]
Like as the hart [6:07]
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (Worcester Service) [8:44]
Let God arise [8:20]
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis (Collegium Regale) [8:33]
Nicholas Entwisle, Anthony Mansfield, Rory Turnbull (trebles), Stephen Challenger (tenor)
The Choir of Hereford Cathedral/Geraint Bowen
Peter Dyke (organ)
rec. Hereford Cathedral, 20-22 January 2009. DDD
REGENT REGCD316 [74.12]
This disc of sacred choral works by Herbert Howells from Hereford Cathedral opens with the Collegium Regale Te Deum and Jubilate. The choir are a little pallid to begin with but soon liven up and seem to be become more fully engaged. The Te Deum and Jubilate are followed by O pray for the peace of Jerusalem, the first of a series of four anthems - originally five, but Ponder my Words has regrettably been lost - entitled In Time of War and composed in Cheltenham, whither the family moved briefly after the destruction of their home in Barnes at the end of 1941. The boys are a little strained here sometimes, but otherwise rise to the occasion well. The Magnificat and Nunc dimittis for the four services for Howells’ native Gloucester Cathedral, and for Hereford Cathedral, Worcester Cathedral and King’s College are then interspersed with the remaining three anthems – a formula that works well in breaking up what might otherwise be a slightly heavy programme. The Magnificats and Nunc dimittis-es are well performed, with gentle, atmospheric and evocative singing – the Hereford service in particular given as good performance as one might expect from the Hereford Cathedral Choir. The second anthem, We have heard with our ears is sung with tremendous conviction in a passionate and resonant performance, as is the much-loved Like as the hart - pleasingly compelling. The final anthem, Let God arise, is given an especially radiant finish, and my only criticism is that the tenor solo in the Collegium Regale Nunc dimittis isn’t quite strong or searing enough; a little on the weak side. As a general rule, however, these are good, confident and atmospheric performances of some truly wonderful choral works, and the disc merits commendation.
  Em Marshall-Luck
Good, confident and atmospheric performances of some truly wonderful choral works.