Notes and Editorial Reviews
Any member of any cathedral or half-decent Anglican church choir should know most of these anthems. Others may question the booklet's assertion that they are "best-loved anthems in the church repertoire", although bearing in mind the strong Etonian associations in the programme, there may be a hint of the parochial about that. Nevertheless even the less familiar items here (among these we must count Malcolm Boyle's ravishing Thou, O God art praised in Sion, for my money one of the hidden wonders of the 20th-century English anthem) should quickly become "best-loved" given these fresh-faced performances by a choir which proudly assert their all-maleness in an age where such things are becoming frighteningly rare.
The programme focuses on the treble voice and clearly Eton is blessed with a generous supply of these, with no fewer than nine assigned various solos. None of these young voices is anything less than impressive, and several are quite distinguished; it's a treat to hear Joshua Cooter float sublimely over the Mary's spinning-wheel accompaniment from the ever-sensitive David Goode in Stanford's G major Magnificat, while Adam Berman holds his head high in the august company of Ernst Lough et al in that hoary (but lovely) old chestnut, O for the wings of a dove. Top accolade for me however, has to go to the magnificent Laudete Dominum of Tom Norrington; a voice of real power and artistry.
As always with a choir in their teens, a certain lack of weight and resonance is evident from the tenors and basses. But with Ralph Allwood at the helm, such flaws are suppressed and, in any case, the obvious enthusiasm and commitment more than compensates for any vocal imperfections.
Marc Rochester, Gramophone (4/2008)
Works on This Recording
Teach me, O Lord by William Byrd
David Goode (Organ)
Eton College Chapel Choir
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