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English Choral Music - Walton / Robinson, St. John's College


Release Date: 03/19/2002 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8555793   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Sir William Walton
Performer:  Christopher WhittonIestyn DaviesOliver Lepage-DeanJames Birchall,   ... 
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Listeners who don't already own the excellent Finzi Singers recording (Chandos) of what amounts to a near-identical copy of this program from Cambridge's Choir of St. John's College shouldn't hesitate to grab this equally first-rate budget offering on Naxos. Both recordings feature these essential choral pieces in performances that are as faithfully and fully realized as we can hope for (accompanied works are given in their versions with organ), from the bright and brilliant Coronation Te Deum to the sturdy and reassuring anthem Set me as a seal upon thine heart. Not surprisingly, each of the two choirs sings as if born to this music, and technically there's very little difference between the adult professionals and the men and boys of St. Read more John's. Yes, the vocal timbres show the natural and distinct contrasts of quality most apparent in the voices of boy trebles versus mature female sopranos--but even here, Walton's music loses nothing in its impact due to the less-weighty boy soprano sound. This is as much due to the round-shaped, clearly focused tone of the boy singers as to the Finzi women's well-balanced, warmly-colored vocal character--in each case fitting perfectly into the respective overall ensemble mix.


Now for the differences: the Finzi program offers Walton's lovely--and tricky-to-sing--Christmas carols--Make we joy now in this Fest, What Cheer?, King Herod and the Cock, and All this time; St. John's inserts two organ solos of music from Henry V. Otherwise, the programs are identical in repertoire. However, each recording has its own distinct sound perspective--the Finzi/Chandos being more reverberant and close, the St. John's/Naxos being slightly drier and more distant. Although everyone won't have the luxury of obtaining both of these fine recordings (and you can't go wrong with either), no serious Walton fan will settle for less.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Coronation Te Deum by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952-1953; England 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranged: Simon Preston and Marc Blatchly 
2. A Litany by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916/1930; England 
Language: English 
3. Magnificat by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Iestyn Davies (Countertenor), Oliver Lepage-Dean (Boy Soprano), Christopher Whitton (Organ),
James Birchall (Bass)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; England 
Language: English 
4. Nunc dimittis by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; England 
Language: English 
5. Henry V: Orchestral Suite - no 4, Touch her soft lips and part by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943-1944; England 
Notes: Transcribed: Iain Farrington 
6. Henry V: Orchestral Suite - no 2, Passacaglia "Death of Falstaff" by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943-1944; England 
Notes: Transcribed: Iain Farrington 
7. Cantico del sole by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1974; England 
Language: Italian 
8. Missa brevis by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Oliver Lepage-Dean (Boy Soprano), Christopher Whitton (Organ), Geoffrey Silver (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; England 
Language: Latin 
9. Jubilate Deo by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ), Nicholas Morton (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; England 
Language: English 
10. The Twelve by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Gareth Jones (Baritone), Edward Lyon (Tenor), Oliver Lepage-Dean (Boy Soprano),
Aaron Burchell (Countertenor), Christopher Whitton (Organ), Nicholas Morton (Boy Soprano)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; England 
Language: English 
11. Set me as a seal upon thine heart by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ), Oliver Lepage-Dean (Boy Soprano), Edward Lyon (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; England 
Language: English 
12. Antiphon by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Language: English 
13. Where does the uttered music go? by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Christopher Whitton (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; England 
Language: English 

Sound Samples

Coronation Te Deum (arr. S. Preston and M. Blatchly)
A Litany: Drop, drop slow tears
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis: Magnificat
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis: Nunc Dimittis
Where does the uttered music go?
Jubilate Deo
Henry V (adapted by Christopher Palmer) (arr. I. Farrington): Henry V: Touch her soft lips and part (arr. I. Farrington)
Cantico del sole: Cantico del Sole
Henry V (adapted by Christopher Palmer) (arr. I. Farrington): Henry V: Passacaglia "Death of Falstaff" (arr. I. Farrington)
The Twelve
Set me as a seal upon thine heart
Antiphon
Missa brevis: Kyrie
Missa brevis: Sanctus and Benedictus
Missa brevis: Agnus Dei
Missa brevis: Gloria

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