2002 marks the year of three great occasions: Firstly, the music world celebrates the centenary of the birth of Sir William Walton. Secondly our Commonwealth celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. In January of this year to mark these events, Stephen Layton directed Polyphony and The Wallace Collection through three days of what can only be described (from personal experience) as spellbinding recording sessions of a disc of Walton choral music. The third great occasion of this year is its release.
In 2001 Polyphony won the Gramophone Award for Best Choral Recording for which Gramophone remarked ‘This has to be one of the strongest winners of the choral award in recent years’. And yet Stephen Layton has followed that accolade with a disc that comprises such breathtaking singing, the listener will be left staggered by such a mighty force of combined musicianship and talent.
Patrons will have heard the repertoire, and now they have the opportunity to purchase the definitive version, complete with brass, the wonderfully sonorous organ of Hereford Cathedral, and the acoustics that such a majestic building has to offer.
This disc, quite simply, is British choral music at its best, and Stephen Layton and Polyphony at theirs.