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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67593
Recording details: July 2006
Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Simon Eadon & David Hinitt
Release date: February 2007
Total duration: 4 minutes 28 seconds

'The Abbey Choir … give an excellent account of themselves, the trebles especially singing with the confidence of professional musicianship and with voices in fine, generous bloom. In some of the short, quieter pieces, such as They are at rest and Ecce sacerdos magnus, they achieve a standard as near perfection as any. And Robert Quinney is a tremendous asset: an organist who puts his technical skill to imaginative use, sometimes … to vivid effect. Recorded sound is both clear and spacious, and the authoritative booklet contains some evocative period photographs' (Gramophone)

'The Westminster Abbey Choir delivers its organ-accompanied programme with beautiful tonal colour and blend' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The most impressive items are Great is the Lord and Give unto the Lord, two powerfully expressive large-scale anthems composed just before the First World War. Their texts allow Elgar to explore a wide range of choral and organ effects in the service of some vividly graphic word-painting, which Westminster Abbey Choir bring to life with obvious relish' (The Daily Telegraph)

'James O'Donnell never lets a detail pass or an effect count for nothing; likewise the Westminster Abbey Choir. Rarities, such as the Queen Alexandra Memorial Ode of 1932, receive equal care and attention … above all, this disc projects Elgarian grandeur and dignity' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Every work on the disc receives a convincing performance. James O'Donnell has chosen the tempi carefully, allowing the music enough space to breathe in the Abbey's generous acoustic whilst managing to avoid any sense of dragging. The choir sings well throughout and almost without fail produces a well-blended sound. Robert Quinney's accompaniments are colourful and exciting … highly recommended' (Cathedral Music)

'The Choir of Westminster Abbey, directed by James O'Donnell, does great service in a programme ranging from his naive early pieces for his local Catholic Church, to Coronation music and an Ode, written for the unveiling of Queen Alexandra's memorial in 1932, one of his last pieces. Beautiful singing and sound quality from Hyperion' (Liverpool Daily Post)

'These choral works can be judged as small masterpieces' (ClassicsToday.com)

O hearken thou, Op 64
composer
1911
author of text
Psalm 5: 2-3

Other recordings available for download
Worcester Cathedral Choir, Donald Hunt (conductor), Adrian Partington (organ)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
O hearken Thou was written, for chorus and orchestra, for the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary and was completed in March 1911 and first performed at the Coronation service in Westminster Abbey on 22 June 1911, when the conductor was Sir Frederick Bridge. It was immediately issued by Novello in this version for chorus and organ in Novello’s series of church anthems. Elgar had also written a Coronation March and a Coronation Hymn, but here he is not looking to make a big public statement. Elgar takes verses 2 and 3 from Psalm 5 for his setting which was sung while the King took communion. This was not the time for his ceremonial manner and Elgar’s intense mood encompassing a rich choral sound took advantage of the huge acoustic to underline the fervent but essentially private dedication of the moment.

from notes by Lewis Foreman © 2007


Other albums featuring this work
'Elgar: Cathedral Music' (CDH55147)
Elgar: Cathedral Music
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55147  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  

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