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Great British Choral Works

Sixteen / Handel / Byrd / Britten / Christophers
Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Coro   Catalog #: 16092   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William ByrdJames MacMillanThomas TallisJohn Tavener,   ... 
Performer:  Grace DavidsonKirsty HopkinsMichael [Bass-Baritone Vocal] GeorgeMark Padmore,   ... 
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



GREAT BRITISH CHORAL WORKS Harry Christophers, cond; The Sixteen CORO COR 16092 (77:57)


Music of HANDEL, BYRD, MacMILLAN, TALLIS, TAVENER, CORNYSH, CARVER, PURCELL, BRITTEN, TIPPETT, SHEPPARD


It is hard to realize that The Sixteen has been in business for 35 years come 2012. Ten years ago, Harry Christophers got the interesting idea of acquiring the rights to older recordings of the group and forming Coro, a company to reissue them and to issue new Read more recordings by the chorus. Since then, they have also begun distributing recordings by the Hilliard Ensemble as well as other material.


The disc at hand is a compilation from earlier recordings with no particular theme. If several of these composers would never have thought of themselves as British, and if not everything here is choral, it’s all great. There is nothing here that is rare, save possibly three 16th-century pieces: a William Cornysh Ave Maria , Robert Carver’s “Benedictus” from a Mass, and the excerpt from John Sheppard’s large Passion anthem sequence Media vita in morte sumus . Byrd’s Laudibus in sanctis is well known.


This collection is well sung, as is to be expected from this group, and the program is attractively arranged, beginning, “middling,” and ending with Handel—the second Coronation anthem, My Heart Is Inditing ; “Tune Your Harps” from Esther (elegantly sung by Mark Padmore); and the last two movements of Messiah . There are two songs from Purcell’s Fairy Queen , sung by Michael Chance and Michael George; Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia ; one of the spirituals, “Nobody Knows,” from Tippett’s A Child of Our Time ; Tallis’s 40-voice motet, Spem in alium (perhaps the least interesting performance on the disc); and two modern pieces by James MacMillan, A Child’s Prayer sung by Kirsty Hopkins and Grace Davidson, and A New Song.


Though this disc is something of an advertisement for available wares, it is nonetheless pleasant listening. There is no mention of the orchestras used or of the choral singers, and no texts are supplied. One must be on guard, too, as the recording ambiences, and therefore volumes, differ from track to track.


FANFARE: Alan Swanson
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Works on This Recording

1.
Liber secundus sacrarum cantionum: Laudibus in sanctis by William Byrd
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 12 Secs. 
2.
A Child's Prayer by James MacMillan
Performer:  Grace Davidson (), Kirsty Hopkins ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996; Scotland 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
3.
Spem in alium by Thomas Tallis
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: after 1559; England 
Length: 9 Minutes 38 Secs. 
4.
Today the Virgin by John Tavener
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
5.
Ave Maria Mater Dei for 4 voices by William Cornysh
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1510; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
6.
Missa Dum sacrum mysterium: Benedictus by Robert Carver
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Length: 5 Minutes 31 Secs. 
7.
The Fairy Queen: One charming night by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1689; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
8.
The Fairy Queen: Hush, no more by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Michael [Bass-Baritone Vocal] George ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1689; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 6 Secs. 
9.
Esther, HWV 50a: Tune your harps to cheerful strains by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Mark Padmore ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1718; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 54 Secs. 
10.
Hymn to St Cecilia, Op. 27 by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; England 
Length: 10 Minutes 40 Secs. 
11.
Media vita in morte sumus (Excerpt) by John Sheppard
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1553-1558; England 
Length: 8 Minutes 0 Secs. 
12.
A New Song by James MacMillan
Performer:  Christopher Glynn (Organ)
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997; Scotland 
Length: 5 Minutes 16 Secs. 
13.
Messiah, HWV 56: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 
14.
Messiah, HWV 56: Amen by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 44 Secs. 
15.
Coronation Anthems (4): no 4, HWV 261 "My heart is inditing": My heart is inditing by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1727; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
16.
A child of our time: Negro Spirituals (5) - Nobody knows by Michael Tippett
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Sixteen
Period: Modern 
Written: 1958 
Length: 1 Minutes 28 Secs. 

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