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Hyperion Records

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Westminster Hall and Abbey by Daniel Havell (1785-1826)
Coloured aquatint by John Gendall (1790-1865) published by Rudolph Ackermann (1764-1834) / Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67716
Recording details: February 2008
Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
Produced by David Trendell
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: October 2008
Total duration: 5 minutes 26 seconds

'The best newly recorded Christmas CD by a country mile … terrific' (The Mail on Sunday)

'A must-have addition to any choral collection' (Choir & Organ)

'The Abbey choir's splendid performance … an ambitious and superbly sung programme, sympathetically framed within the choir's spaciously atmospheric home acoustic' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The Christmas Eve carol service at Westminster Abbey is one of the most warming events in the festive calendar, and this CD captures the atmosphere beautifully … the singing is a constant delight' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Westminster Abbey Choir commands top spot among this year's Christmas vocal releases. James O'Donnell and his choristers are on splendid form, upholding the character of each piece in a compelling programme without false sentiment or wanton display' (Classic FM Magazine)

The Three Kings
First line:
O balow, balow la lay. The first king was very young
composer
commissioned by King's College, Cambridge, for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve 2000
author of text
The Three Kings

Other recordings available for download
Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Jonathan Dove’s The Three Kings, a setting of Dorothy L Sayers, was commissioned for the 2000 Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. Sayers’s division of the kings into three ages, with a stanza each—young, middle and old respectively—gives the piece its structure; the melancholic mood is immediately established by the beautifully simple lullaby refrain. Dove achieves a magical transformation at the start of the third stanza, by unexpectedly switching to the major mode. He then expands the scoring at ‘many a gaud and glittering toy’, the inner voices providing a sparkling pointillistic accompaniment to the slower-moving melody. An ecstatic climax is reached; but this subsides into a wistful repeat of the opening refrain, leaving a question-mark hanging over the scene.

from notes by Robert Quinney © 2008


Other albums featuring this work
'Dove: Choral Music' (CDA67768)
Dove: Choral Music

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