Philip Reed
Choir & Organ
April 2016

This splendid disc brings together all of Howells's 'Collegium Regale/ music for the Morning and Evening Prayer and the Office of Holy Communion, composed for King's College, Cambridge, during the second world war and then a decade later. In addition, Stephen Layton offers us two early examples of Howells's Anglican chants (Psalms 121 and 122), the organ Rhapsody in D flat (sensitively played by Owain Park), the Coronation introit Behold, O God our defender, and the late anthem I love all beauteous things.

Layton, who this year celebrates a decade at Trinity College, Cambridge, has honed his mixed-voice choir into an impressive body of singers: the entire programme is richly satisfying, perfectly judged and one that anyone interested in the development of the Anglican choral tradition in the last century will want to hear. Recorded in Coventry Cathedral rather than in Trinity's own chapel (a decision prompted by the organ and the acoustic properties of Coventry, a building roughly contemporary with Howells's settings), this CD is a fitting tribute to Howell's significant position within that tradition.