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Hyperion Records

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A Lake Landscape at Sunset by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893)
Christie's, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55456
Recording details: June 2004
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: June 2005
Total duration: 9 minutes 30 seconds

'The phrasing of Malcolm Archer's Wells Cathedral Choir is unobtrusively intelligent, Howells' long, powerfully expanding crescendos emerging as naturally evolving arcs in the ongoing argument. Tonal blend is excellent, and there is no superficial straining for effect whatsoever. This is genuinely devotional singing, technique placed at the disposal of the music's spiritual message. Rupert Gough's organ accompaniments are exemplary' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Rupert Gough's accompaniments are tastefully executed and help make this portrait of the range and diversity of a side to Howells all too often taken for granted a highly worthwhile release' (International Record Review)

'The sound is focused and radiant, the ensemble immaculate, and Rupert Gough provides charismatic organ accompaniment' (The Scotsman)

Collegium Regale 'King's College Cambridge Service'
composer
1944/5
author of text
Book of Common Prayer

Other recordings available for download
St Paul's Cathedral Choir, John Scott (conductor), Christopher Dearnley (organ)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Howells’s unique contribution to the music of the Anglican Church began in earnest in 1944 when he won a bet (one guinea!) from the Dean of King’s College, Cambridge, which provided the College choir with a new setting of the Te Deum. This laid down a template in sound which was to see cathedral organists queuing up to secure their own piece of Howells. The Collegium Regale Magnificat and Nunc dimittis have rightly become the most celebrated settings of the twentieth century. They follow Howells’s stated feelings to the letter: ‘… if I made a setting of the Magnificat, the mighty should be put down from their seat without a brute force which would deny this canticle’s feminine association. Equally, that in the Nunc dimittis, the tenor’s domination should characterize the gentle Simeon. Only the Gloria should raise its voice.’ The Magnificat opens with upper voices (suitably representing Mary) singing in an almost recitative-like way. The altos are scored to enrich the texture at ‘For behold, from henceforth’, and the tenors and basses only join at ‘He hath shewn strength with his arm’. The ‘Gloria’, surely amongst the most ecstatic utterances we possess, does indeed raise its voice in the manner of a true doxology.

from notes by Paul Spicer © 2005


Other albums featuring this work
'Howells: St Paul's Service & other works' (CDA66260)
Howells: St Paul's Service & other works

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