Hyperion’s previous recordings with Winchester Cathedral Choir are among the jewels in its choral collection. Now the label begins a new relationship with this ancient foundation and its latest director of music, Andrew Lumsden. Their new disc features a composer who was at the centre of the English twentieth-century choral tradition.
Herbert Howells’ is a unique and distinctive voice in church music and it is his lyrical anthem Like as the hart and his compositions of the 1940s and 50s for which he is most known and celebrated. However, his late works are equal in beauty and intensity and it is these that are featured on this superb recording. They are often over-looked as a result of their difficulty but Winchester Cathedral Choir reveal them as unjustly neglected gems.
The Winchester Service, written in 1969, has its roots in plainchant and demonstrates the composer’s chromatic sophistication and the incredible depth of his harmonic palette. The choir display a clear affinity with the composer. They perform with sensitivity and precision and their glorious sound is quintessentially English.