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Hyperion Records

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The Court of Trinity College, Cambridge by William Westall (1781-1850)
Private Collection / The Stapleton Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67737
Recording details: July 2008
Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: May 2009
Total duration: 20 minutes 56 seconds

'Soloists and chorus alike excel in three of Handel's Chandos Anthems … the 40 members of the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, sing with flexibility and lightness … Emma Kirkby shows her stylistic intelligence and masterful communication of text in the opening of HWV252. It is enjoyable to hear some of Handel's lesser-known and more intimate church music performed with such elegant restraint and skill' (Gramophone)

'There is vintage Handel to be gleaned here … Layton offers luxury casting, Iestyn Davies and Neal Davies on particularly commanding form … the only thing missing on this disc are the words 'Vol. 1'. Such 'Handel with care' deserves nothing less' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Stephen Layton is on a roll … his inspirational direction and choice of top soloists makes this a welcome addition to earlier recordings. The choir sings with their usual purity of tone and clear diction whle the Academy of Ancient Music plays with convincing vigour in the sprightly double-dotted passages' (The Observer)

'The choir's firm tone and tightly disciplined singing, coupled with the Academy's polished ensemble and phrasing, are a considerable improvement on The Sixteen and O'Reilly's sometimes raw and slightly untidy performances … Emma Kirkby's contributions are unfailingly masterful. Her solo, backed by the choir, in HWV252's lyrical opening movement and in HWV254's gentle soprano aria, 'God's tender mercy', are high points of these performances, easily outclassing Christopher's two sopranos … the young countertenor Iestyn Davies also sings impressively' (International Record Review)

'Very good performances … Emma Kirby sings with beauty and authority … much to enjoy here' (Fanfare, USA)

'Emma Kirkby's voice has only improved with age; her tone is warmer and rounder, and her interpretive instincts, always sound, are fully on display here. The other three soloists are equally strong … this choir always is a pleasure to hear—singers this well trained and intelligent don't put a foot wrong anywhere—and the orchestra needs no confirmation of its baroque-music-playing credentials. Conductor Stephen Layton seems to be popping up everywhere these days—and we're all the luckier for that' (ClassicsToday.com)

'Der Choir of Trinity College überzeugt mit klarem Stimmfokus, hoher Koloratursicherheit und exzellenter Aussprache … Nuancen bringen die vier Solisten nahezu optimal zur Geltung' (Fono Forum, Germany)

Let God arise 'Chandos Anthem No 11a', HWV256a
composer
between August 1717 and summer 1718
author of text
Psalm 68: 1-4, 19; 76: 6; 68: 35

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Let God arise opens with an exceptionally fine Sonata, with a lyrically flowing first movement and a brilliant second section in which running semiquaver figures persist throughout. The text is selected from the belligerent Psalm 68, with the effective interpolation of a verse from Psalm 76 for the chorus ‘At thy rebuke, O God’. The war-like mood is set immediately in the first chorus, where instruments and voices all strive to imitate the scattering of the enemies. A couple of ideas from Dixit Dominus are thrown into the mix: the first section ends abruptly with the choral voices breaking up, as in the ‘Implebit ruinas’ section of the Latin psalm, and the continuation takes its cue from the next section of the psalm (‘Conquassabit capita’), greatly expanded and enlivened by newly added cross-rhythms. In the solo ‘Like as the smoke vanisheth’ Handel manages to find musical ideas to convey the notions of vanishing and driving away, and to combine them skilfully in a unified texture. ‘Let the righteous be glad’ is an especially delightful solo, in which a memorable motif later used by Handel in the motet Silete venti and in Semele makes its first appearance. The chorus ‘O sing unto God’ is rather oddly set in a minor key with a theme dominated by running triplets, but the movement soon develops into an impressive musical structure. A slow and solemn section prepares for the exhilarating setting of ‘At thy rebuke’, and the final movement, with its Alleluias pitted against a theme in long notes, both echoes the opening movement of Dixit Dominus and anticipates the most famous chorus of Messiah.

from notes by Anthony Hicks © 2009

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