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Howells: Hymnus Paradisi, A Kent Yeoman's Wooing Song / Hickox, BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus

Howells / Bbc Sym Orch / Jackson
Release Date: 07/31/2012 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10727   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Herbert Howells
Performer:  Joan RodgersAnthony Rolfe JohnsonAlan Opie
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony OrchestraBBC Symphony Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Herbert Howells remains one of the most elusive, yet ultimately rewarding composers of the 20th century English Musical Renaissance. His style owes something to Vaughan Williams and the English pastoral school, but with a certain cosmopolitan polish and harmonic spice that could have come from Britten and his teacher, Frank Bridge. His choral writing is magnificent: very difficult, perfectly sonorous, and hugely expressive. Had it not been for his sensitive and retiring nature, aggravated at the height of his career by the tragic death of his young son, who knows what he might have gone on to achieve? As it is, there are some very substantial, indeed epic, works for chorus and orchestra, of which Hymnus Paradisi is by far the best known. Read more Richard Hickox directs an extremely compelling performance, rising to climaxes of positively transcendental intensity (that of the fourth movement "Sanctus" is especially overwhelming). The coupling, a world premiere recording, makes an ideal contrast, showing the composer and his art at its most relaxed and rural. There's some really fine solo singing, particularly from baritone Alan Opie, and Chandos' recording is first rate. Howells is a great composer. Get to know him.

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

Hickox's soloists...are excellent...Hickox is equally well served by his BBC choral and orchestral forces and by his recording engineers...This is one of the best recordings of British music in years. Go for it.

– Fanfare [1-2/2000]

"The 'Hymnus Paradisi' is almost overwhelming in its affective grieving...without ever resorting to maudlin excess....The well-blended BBC Symphony Chorus sings with an enveloping warmth....the BBC Symphony Orchestra plays superbly." – Opera News [2/2000] Read less

Works on This Recording

Hymnus Paradisi by Herbert Howells
Performer:  Joan Rodgers (Soprano), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; England 
A Kent Yeoman's Wooing Song by Herbert Howells
Performer:  Alan Opie (Baritone), Joan Rodgers (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 

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