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Dreamland / Polyphony, Holst Singers, Trinity College Choir Cambridge

Release Date: 10/13/2009 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 41   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gabriel JacksonJohn TavenerMorten LauridsenRandall Thompson,   ... 
Conductor:  Stephen LaytonJames BurtonMatthew OwensAntony Pitts,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  PolyphonySchola Cantorum OxfordHolst Singers,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

An excellent opportunity to sample Hyperion’s choral riches.

The Hyperion catalogue is strong and enterprising. Over the years one of its most admirable features has been the steady stream of discs of a cappella choral music and these have included a good number of recitals of twentieth-century music. This attractive sampler includes an excellent and representative selection from some of the best of those discs.

I’m familiar with the majority of the CDs in question, either because I own copies or because I’ve reviewed several of them for MusicWeb International. Some of my colleagues have reviewed others and I’ve included the links to all the reviews in the header to this review.
Read more /> Without exception the performances on this disc are out of the top drawer and the quality of the music is equally high. In those respects I can also assure readers that, so far as all the discs that I’ve heard are concerned, those statements apply equally to the complete recitals from which these extracts are taken. 
Among those pieces with which I’m acquainted I’d particularly draw attention to one or two. The Lauridsen offering is a fine piece and the full-throated, committed performance of Polyphony, atmospherically recorded, is fully worthy of it. Randall Thompson’s Alleluia is well known - and it’s very well served here - but the setting of O sacrum convivium by Villette is likely to be less familiar. It’s a notable piece, much more overt and ‘public’ in expression than the devotional setting of the same text by Messiaen. The pieces by MacMillan and Lukaszewski are also pretty marvellous and the respective performances are superb.

New to me was the setting of Balulalow by Nicholas Maw. It’s a lovely creation and this performance has prompted me to order the disc from which it’s taken. The offering from Ruth Byrchmore was a little less to my taste, though Gary Higginson’s review of the whole disc on which it’s included indicates that this recital, entitled ‘Children of Our Time’ is well worth the attention of collectors. On the evidence of the one extract included here, that’s also true of the disc devoted to the music of Latvian composer Rihards Dubra. I’ve never heard of this composer before but if the rest of the contents of Hyperion’s recent CD devoted to his music is as impressive as Stetit Angelus then that’s an omission I must hasten to rectify.

As I’ve said, this collection includes some impressive and very interesting music. It’s also a tribute to the extremely high standard of British choirs these days. Several of the nation’s best are showcased here and the quality of their performances and the assurance and conviction with which they tackle unfamiliar and challenging music is greatly to be admired.

For those unfamiliar with the repertoire included here I urge you to take this opportunity to sample the riches of this section of the Hyperion catalogue. And if that leads you on to acquire some of the discs represented then I hope you’ll get as much pleasure from them as I have had: I’m confident that will be the case.

-- John Quinn, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

To Morning by Gabriel Jackson
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2003 
As one who has slept by John Tavener
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Ave, dulcissima Maria by Morten Lauridsen
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Alleluia by Randall Thompson
Conductor:  James Burton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schola Cantorum Oxford
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
O sacrum convivium by Pierre Villette
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Estonian Lullabies (4) by Veljo Tormis
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holst Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Christ's Love by Geoffrey Burgon
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Adoro te by Antony Pitts
Conductor:  Antony Pitts
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tonus Peregrinus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; London, England 
Magnificat by Arvo Pärt
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; Germany 
Stetit Angelus by Rihards Dubra
Conductor:  Rupert Gough
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London University Royal Holloway Choir
A Child's Prayer by James MacMillan
Conductor:  Martin Baker
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; Scotland 
Shepherd's carol by Robert Chilcott
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 2005; England 
Balulalow by Nicholas Maw
Conductor:  Mark Shepherd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schola Cantorum Oxford
Nunc dimittis by Pawel Lukaszevski
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge Trinity College Choir
Written: 2007; Poland 
In the silence of the night by Ruth Byrchmore
Conductor:  Jeremy Summerly
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schola Cantorum Oxford
Sleep by Eric Whitacre
Conductor:  Stephen Layton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polyphony
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000; USA 

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