Notes and Editorial Reviews
"One of the most unlikely of mystics, Benjamin Britten penned his Hymn to the Virgin when he was just sweet 17. In its antiphonal responses between eight-part choir hymning the Virgin’s virtues in English and four-strong semi-chorus echoing their phrases back at them in Latin, it’s a gift to the Choir of Westminster Abbey, singing on its home ground, under Martin Neary. This all-Britten collection surrounds the familiar Ceremony of Carols – surely the most affecting anthology of its kind ever composed – with less familiar items like the Wedding Anthem for Lord Harewood and Marion Stein (now Thorpe) and the Christopher Smart setting Rejoice in the Lamb, plus a guest performance, as it were, of Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac with its other-worldly opening for unison alto and tenor (Michael Chance and Ian Bostridge) as the Voice of God – worth a million dollars, as BB himself confided to Tippett...This disc is one of the best things [Neary and the Westminster Choir] have done."
-- BBC Music Magazine