[ Naxos / CD ]
Release Date: Monday 1 December 2014
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The three works on this recording mark staging posts in Herbert Howells's compositional life. Sine nomine was commissioned at Elgar's instigation when Howells was 30 and is predominantly orchestral, with wordless parts for the two vocal soloists. This arch-like 'spiritual meditation' was his first extended work for larger forces. Like the Hymnus paradisi (Naxos 8570352), the Stabat Mater is a direct musical reponse to the death of the composer's nine year-old son, and further reveals his mastery of choral and orchestral polyphony. The Te Deum signalled a fresh and new approach to settings of Anglican canticles.
"Though there is much emotional turbulence in this music, Hill maintains a compelling life and forward momentum in Howells's immensely contrapuntal score...The Bach Choir has a palpable vibrancy in its range and layers of dynamics which are complemented by the extensive and highly sensitive palette of Howells's orchestra...and the incisive solo tenor role of Benjamin Hulett." Gramophone Magazine Award Nomination 2015 - Choral
"The choral singing is superb...Hulett is quite wonderful to hear: lyrical, natural, unforced, never strained as he rises affectingly above the orchestra...the whole team of singers and instrumentalists respond with the utmost fervour. to Hill's evidently inspiring leadership. This is a triumph for all concerned." (International Record Review)
"He wrote [the Stabat Mater] for the Bach Choir, and their descendants respond thrillingly to every facet, its bleak anguish and its grave beauty. Hill paces superbly, and Hulett is utterly convincing in taxing solo passages." (Five Stars Classical Music)
Sine Nomine, Op. 37