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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: 19 minutes 54 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)

My song shall be alway 'Chandos Anthem No 7', HWV252
composer
between August 1717 and summer 1718
author of text
Psalm 89: 1, 5-9, 12, 15, 16, 18

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The opening Sonata of My song shall be alway will probably be immediately familiar, as it was used in its entirety in the Concerto grosso in G major, Op 3 No 3. (The second section is based on an idea from Handel’s Birthday Ode to Queen Anne.) In the first vocal number (all the texts are selected from Psalm 89) Handel ingeniously combines two ideas from earlier works: the orchestral introduction is taken from a chorale setting in the Brockes Passion, while the choral intonation in octaves on the words ‘The heav’ns shall praise thy wondrous works’ is derived from the ‘De torrente’ movement in Dixit Dominus. The solo tenor enters with an accompanied recitative, of which there are only a few examples in the anthems, and continues with a more orthodox solo dominated by angular rhythms in the accompaniment. This, and two other movements of the anthem, are reworkings of movements in the ‘Caroline’ Te Deum in D major (HWV280) of 1714. (In some sources of the anthem a trio follows at this point, but it is almost certainly an interpolation by another composer.) Handel sets ‘The heav’ns are thine’ as a contemplative duet for alto and bass, perhaps surprisingly, but it has an appropriate sense of awe and makes an excellent contrast to the rhythmic vigour of the chorus ‘Righteousness and equity’ that follows. The last solo, ‘Blessed is the people’, and the short concluding chorus are the other movements derived from the Te Deum.

from notes by Anthony Hicks © 2009

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