Great British Choral Works

Release Date: 9/13/2011
Label: Coro
Catalog Number: COR16092
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Number of Discs: 1

Physical Format:

CD
In Stock
$18.99
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 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
Works on This Recording
1. Liber secundus sacrarum cantionum: Laudibus in sanctis by William Byrd
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance
Written: by 1591 ; London, England
2. A Child's Prayer by James MacMillan
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1996 ; Scotland
3. Spem in alium by Thomas Tallis
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance
Written: after 1559 ; England
4. Today the Virgin by John Tavener
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1989 ; England
5. Ave Maria Mater Dei for 4 voices by William Cornysh
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance
Written: circa 1510 ; England
6. Missa Dum sacrum mysterium: Benedictus by Robert Carver
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance
7. The Fairy Queen: One charming night by Henry Purcell
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Baroque
Written: 1689 ; England
8. The Fairy Queen: Hush, no more by Henry Purcell
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Baroque
Written: 1689 ; England
9. Esther, HWV 50a: Tune your harps to cheerful strains by George Frideric Handel
Performer: Mark Padmore
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Baroque
Written: circa 1718 ; Germany
10. Hymn to St Cecilia, Op. 27 by Benjamin Britten
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1942 ; England
11. Media vita in morte sumus (Excerpt) by John Sheppard
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Renaissance
Written: 1553-1558 ; England
12. A New Song by James MacMillan
Performer: Christopher Glynn (Organ)
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1997 ; Scotland
13. Messiah, HWV 56: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain by George Frideric Handel
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Baroque
Written: 1742 ; London, England
14. Messiah, HWV 56: Amen by George Frideric Handel
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Baroque
Written: 1742 ; London, England
15. Coronation Anthems (4): no 4, HWV 261 "My heart is inditing": My heart is inditing by George Frideric Handel
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Baroque
Written: 1727 ; England
16. A child of our time: Negro Spirituals (5) - Nobody knows by Michael Tippett
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Sixteen
Period: Modern
Written: 1958 ;
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