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Songs Of Heaven & Earth - Britten, Vaughan Williams, Et Al


Release Date: 10/28/2003 
Label:  Guild   Catalog #: 7265   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ralph Vaughan WilliamsBenjamin BrittenJonathan HarveyBrian Brockless,   ... 
Performer:  Samuel Hayes
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

While the more famous Cambridge choir may be the one at King's College, the one over at Queens is no slouch either. As shown on this interesting and challenging program--challenging for both singer and listener--the mixed-voice Queens ensemble is quite expert at tackling some fairly thorny repertoire, including rarely recorded works by Vaughan Williams and Britten along with pieces by lesser-known composers, most notably Brian Brockless (1926-95), identified as "a highly respected figure of the London church music circle." Although Brockless may capture attention for his stark, rather aggressive style in his settings of Coverdale's Biblical texts (which have a not-so-subtle air of repetitiveness about them), Vaughan Williams Read more proves more remarkable for his sheer range and command of choral style and text setting, from the colorful atmosphere of Heart's music to the powerful and dynamic closing measures of Easter Hymn.


Although Britten's Five Flower Songs have been very well treated by both The Sixteen (Collins) and Polyphony (Hyperion), these performances are very fine (especially To Daffodils and The Succession of the Four Sweet Months), with clear, ringing soprano lines and excellent support from the lower voices, marked by generally sturdy, steady intonation. My favorite piece is Jonathan Harvey's delightfully mystical-sounding Come, Holy Ghost (from 1984), with its close-harmony (sometimes bordering on jazz!) and aleatoric effects against the plainchant melody. There's much more to enjoy here, even though the choice of such demanding music to fill a disc may suggest that listeners should space their enjoyment across more than one listening session. The sound is first rate, giving an ideal sense of the space of Queen's College Chapel while maintining clarity of line and detail of interior parts. It's great to have the rarer pieces on disc, so well-performed, and hopefully choral fans will take advantage of the opportunity to hear them.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Heart's music by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; England 
Date of Recording: 06/2001 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: English 
2.
Valiant for truth by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; England 
Date of Recording: 06/2001 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 6 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Language: English 
3.
Choral Hymns (3) by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; England 
Date of Recording: 06/2001 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 14 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: English 
4.
Flower Songs (5), Op. 47 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950; England 
Date of Recording: 06/2001 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 11 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: English 
5.
Come Holy Ghost by Jonathan Harvey
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; England 
Date of Recording: 06/2001 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 6 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: English 
6.
I love the Lord by Jonathan Harvey
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976; England 
Date of Recording: 06/2001 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 5 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Language: English 
7.
Christ is Now Rysen by Brian Brockless
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; England 
Date of Recording: 06/2001 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 2 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Language: English 
8.
Now blessed be thou, Jesus Christ by Brian Brockless
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; England 
Date of Recording: 06/2001 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: English 
9.
Come Holy Spirite, Most Blessed Lord by Brian Brockless
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976/1985; England 
Date of Recording: 06/2001 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 2 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: English 
10.
There is a garden in her face by Brian Brockless
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; England 
Date of Recording: 06/2001 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: English 
11.
Poems (2) of Edward Thomas by Howard Skempton
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; England 
Date of Recording: 06/27/2000 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 2 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: English 
12.
Festival Te Deum in E major, Op. 32 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Samuel Hayes (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Steynor
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Queens' College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; England 
Date of Recording: 06/2001 
Venue:  Queens' College Chapel, Cambridge 
Length: 6 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: English 

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