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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: 11 minutes 6 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)

Quatre motets pour le temps de NoŽl
composer
1952
author of text
Nos 1 & 2: Matins Reponsories for Christmas Day; No 3: Antiphon for the Octave of the Epiphany; No 4: Vespers Antiphon on Christmas Day

Other recordings available for download
Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Introduction
These exquisite miniatures paint four colourful scenes from the nativity story. O magnum mysterium is the most profound: slow and (by Poulenc’s standards) harmonically austere, it grows in intensity toward the final repetition of the main text, via an intimate verse in praise of the Virgin. The text of Quem vidistis makes two demands of the shepherds, set in contrasting ways by Poulenc. ‘Who did you see?’ is a cantilène accompanied by searching quaver movement; by contrast, the imperative ‘Speak … and proclaim the birth of Christ’ is a trumpet blast worthy of the annunciatory angels themselves. The crystalline refrain of Videntes stellam evokes a placid and (of course) starlit night, through which the Magi travel with burgeoning excitement; this reaches a rich climax as they enter the stable and present their gifts; outside the star shines on, undisturbed. In the final motet, Hodie Christus natus est, the faithful make their response to the news with unbuttoned exuberance: ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo’ accompanied by popping champagne corks.

from notes by Robert Quinney © 2008


Other albums featuring this work
'Poulenc: Gloria & Motets' (CDA67623)
Poulenc: Gloria & Motets
'Poulenc: Mass & Motets' (CDH55448)
Poulenc: Mass & Motets
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55448  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Christmas through the ages' (NOEL1)
Christmas through the ages
MP3 £4.50FLAC £4.50ALAC £4.50 NOEL1  Super-budget price sampler — Download only  

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