England My England

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England My England
Alastair Hussain (treble) Thomas Bullard (baritone) / Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Cambridge University Musical Society Chorus, etc

[ EMI / Warner Classics / 2 CD ]

Release Date: Monday 20 July 2009

There is surely no more quintessentially English sound than that of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, its unaccompanied voices - evocative of immemorial sandstone, of cool cloisters, of evensong in church, chapel and cathedral.

There is surely no more quintessentially English sound than that of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, its unaccompanied voices - evocative of immemorial sandstone, of cool cloisters, of evensong in church, chapel and cathedral - serene in the music of Shakespeare's contemporaries Byrd and Gibbons, ethereal in Delius heard of a summer's night across the Backs of the River Cam.

No less iconic is the chapel that lends its unique acoustic to that sound. One of the glories of the English perpendicular style of architecture, it was eventually completed in 1547, a little over a century after the founding of the college itself by Henry VI.

This collection opens and closes with coronation music: Zadok the Priest was written for the crowning of George II in 1727, I was glad for that of Edward VII in 1902. Both were so successful that they have been sung at every coronation since their premières. Parry's 'processional anthem' is heard here in its full panoply of extra brass and shouted Vivats, the choir of King's choir providing the semi-chorus in the exquisite interlude 'O pray for the peace of Jerusalem'.

In between are motets ancient and modern - from the miniature If ye love me and the architectural splendour of the 40-part Spem in alium to William Harris's dramatic double-choir Spenser setting Faire is the Heaven; well-known psalms sung to Anglican chant; and favourite hymns, notably All people that on earth do dwell, arranged ceremonially for another coronation, that of Elizabeth II.

As well as national rejoicing there is solemn remembrance. Come ye sons of art away is Purcell's 1694 birthday ode for Queen Mary, Thou knowest, Lord part of the music he wrote for her funeral just nine months later. John Ireland's Greater love hath no man is often heard on Remembrance Sunday; Sir John Tavener's Song for Athene made a powerful impression at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales; while John Rutter's small-scale, personal Requiem touched a wider public following the attacks of 11 September 2001. But 'Nimrod' above all epitomises music of national remembrance. Here a choral setting of it, Lux aeterna, represents our 'Shakespeare of music', Edward Elgar.

Tracks:

Bairstow:
Psalm 67: God be merciful unto us, and bless us

Bourgeois, T-L:
All people that on earth do dwell
arr. Vaughan William
The Wallace Collection

Britten:
Jubilate Deo in C major (1961)

Byrd:
Ave verum Corpus
Lustorum Animae

Delius:
To be sung of a summer night on the water, No. 1

Elgar:
Lux aeterna
arr. John Cameron

Gardiner:
Evening Hymn (Te lucis ante terminum)

Gibbons, O:
Hosanna to the son of David
Drop, drop, slow tears

Goodenough, R P:
Psalm 150: O praise God in his holiness

Goss, J:
Praise my soul, the King of Heaven
descant Cleobury
Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd

Handel:
Coronation Anthem No. 1, HWV258 'Zadok the Priest'
Academy of Ancient Music
Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah
Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields

Harris, W:
Faire is the Heaven

Holst:
I Vow to Thee, My Country

Ireland:
Greater love hath no man
Michael Pearce (treble) & Paul Robinson (bass)

Miller, E:
When I survey the wondrous Cross
arr Rutter

Monk, W H:
Abide with me

Parry:
Jerusalem
Psalm 84: O how amiable are thy dwellings
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind (Repton)
Thomas Bullard (baritone)
I was glad

Parsons, R:
Ave Maria

Purcell:
Come ye songs of art, away (Ode for Queen Mary's birthday, 1694), Z 323
David Hansen (alto)
Academy of Ancient Music
Thou know'st, Lord, Z 58c
David Blackadder, Phillip Bainbridge, Susan Addison & Stephen Saunders (flatt trumpets)

Rutter:
Pie Jesu (from Requiem)
Edward Saklatvala (treble)
City of London Sinfonia
Requiem - Requiem aeterna
City of London Sinfonia

Scholefield:
The Day thou gavest, Lord, is ended

arr Rutter

Stanford:
Beati quorum via, Op. 38 No. 3
Magnificat in G
Alastair Hussain (treble)

Tallis:
Spem in alium for eight five-part choirs '40-part Motet'
O nata lux de lumine 5vv
If ye love me

Tavener:
Song for Athene

Vaughan Williams:
Come down, O Love divine
Let all the world in every corner sing
English Chamber Orchestra
Mass in G minor - Kyrie
John Eaton (treble), Nigel Perrin (alto), Robin Doveton (tenor) & David van Asch (bass)

Weelkes:
When David Heard