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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67643
Recording details: February 2007
Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: September 2007
Total duration: 3 minutes 42 seconds

'The disc is a splendid and colourful addition to the Abbey Choir's recordings of special services. They themselves are in fine form, sovereign (as befits the status of their church) in musical confidence, as well placed as the bright-toned voices of the boys who rise with an aplomb many opera house choruses might envy to the high Cs of the Langlais Mass, and show their mastery in still more wonderful ways by finding the notes scattered with hide-and-seek devilry in Tippet's Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. And in that connection the soloist Nicholas Trapp deserves particular mention. Their style, under James O'Donnell's sure direction, is forthright and spirited, well attuned to the Jacobean mysticism of Dering's Factus est silentium as to Howell's ecstatic Sequence for St Michael … Kenneth Leighton's Responses are subtly varied and inventive' (Gramophone)

'The choir, atmospherically recorded in the Abbey itself, sings this demanding repertoire with its customary zeal and a well-blended sound, and the performances are directed with the panache and style one has come to expect from James O'Donnell. Robert Quinney's contribution as organist culminates in a Laus Deo from Jonathan Harvey aptly described by O'Donnell in his booklet note as 'the opulent psychedelia of [Messiaen's] Turangalîla compressed into four minutes'' (The Daily Telegraph)

Plebs angelica
composer
1943; for the Choir of Canterbury Cathedral, January 1944
author of text
Manuscript of St Martial of Limoges

Other recordings available for download
St Paul's Cathedral Choir, John Scott (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Sir Michael Tippett’s output of liturgical music is small, and indeed most of it appears on this disc. The anthem Plebs angelica occupies a unique place in the English choral repertoire. It was composed for the choir of Canterbury Cathedral in 1943. Tippett chose to set this striking poetic text in the original Latin (an unusual, even bold choice at the time for a work written for an Anglican cathedral choir), and the musical language makes obvious reference to Tudor choral music in its imitative, polyphonic style and the choice of unaccompanied double-choir scoring. But it is no pastiche: Tippett is revisiting and reimagining his Tudor inspiration, and this music sounds at once fresh and unmistakably modern, while also having a strong flavour of older music. The composer’s sense of drama and responsiveness to the text is everywhere evident, not least at ‘Vos, o Michael’ and the following three phrases where each Archangel is given a distinct musical ‘personality’. The closing word ‘Paradisicolas’ is serenely set, bringing this superb miniature to a richly luminous conclusion.

from notes by James O'Donnell © 2007


Other albums featuring this work
'The English Anthem, Vol. 6' (CDA66826)
The English Anthem, Vol. 6

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