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Track(s) taken from CDA67909

Our faith is a light

2004; commissioned to mark the 10th anniversary of the introduction of girl choristers into Wells Cathedral Choir
author of text
after Revelations of Divine Love

Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens (conductor), Jonathan Vaughn (organ)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: June 2012
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: August 2013
Total duration: 5 minutes 53 seconds

Cover artwork: Cornfield by Moonlight (1830) by Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'This excellent disc from Wells Cathedral Choir looks back over 15 years of Bingham's choral works … there's a frankness to the Wells choral sound that suits music that has nothing precious or twee about it. It creates an underlying muscularity, even in the glowing cluster-chords of Cantate Domino and foregrounds the texts that Bingham sets with Britten-like care … this collection is the most representative yet of the composer's functional, liturgical works' (Gramophone)

'The setting of Cantate Domino memorably commingles an anxious, questing quality with glimpses of certitude and placidity, a balance sensitively struck in this assured Wells Cathedral Choir performance … Our faith is a light is a luminescent setting highlighting the bright, gleaming quality of tone the Wells top line is currently producing. The Hyperion recording is atmospheric and expertly balanced. Recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Choral music is a sphere that welcomes the new. The Anglican (mainly) church is a leading source of new commissions for countless composers, among them Judith Bingham (b1952), who stands out not least because she spent her early career as a professional singer and knows the idiom. She favours rich, multilayered radiance, as heard in the two Wells service canticles—written for the excellent choir who perform here. Jonathan Vaughn provides spirited organ accompaniment and interludes. The lullaby setting of God be in my head, the abundant interpretation of Gerard Manley Hopkins's Harvest and the unexpectedness of the Bromley Missa brevis, written for an enlightened south London parish church, all play to Bingham's creative strengths' (The Observer)
Wells Cathedral first introduced girl choristers to the ranks of its resident choir in 1994. Our faith is a light was commissioned to mark the initiative’s tenth anniversary. Bingham chose for her text words from Revelations of Divine Love by the fourteenth-century Christian mystic Julian of Norwich. The imaginary landscape of her work is also furnished with details from the early history of the present Wells Cathedral, which grew up in the late twelfth century to the north of a Middle Saxon cemetery. ‘It was over the dead that that mighty façade rose … with its hymn to [the] Madonna: Regina caeli laetare, alleluia’, recalled Edward Hutton in his Highways and Byways in Somerset of 1912, whose work also notes the daily singing of a Mass to the Blessed Virgin at Wells. ‘Thinking back to the twelfth century when work began on the cathedral led me to another blend of composer and female voices—Hildegard of Bingen and her nuns’, observes Bingham. ‘This anthem is in some ways my homage to Hildegard’s ecstatic melody. To suggest the stretching out of nearly a thousand years, the organ often has rising or falling staccato chords, ticking like the cathedral’s famous medieval clock.’

from notes by Andrew Stewart © 2013

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