Robert Macneil
The Portal
April 2016

Herbert Howells, 1892-1893, is particularly known for his large output of Anglican church music. He wrote so many wonderful compositions that it is impossible to single out any one piece as a favourite. This new recording from Hyperion Records however, makes for compulsive and relaxing listening. For this very special recording, Stephen Layton took his award-winning Choir of Trinity College Cambridge on a trip to Coventry Cathedral, and the result is stunning.

The Collegium Regale Jubilate, Magnificat and Nunc dimittis are undoubtedly amongst the most celebrated settings of the twentieth century. Howells’ himself wrote: “if I made a setting of the Magnificat, the mighty should be put down from their seat without a brute force which would deny this canticle’s feminine association. Equally, that in the Nunc dimittis, the tenor’s domination should characterise the gentle Simeon. Only the Gloria should raise its voice”.

This recording by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, is most certainly a wonderful interpretation of Howells’ work and is a must for all lovers of Anglican church music.