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Vocal Recording of the Year 2016

- Classical Music | Vocal & Choral

Vocal Recording of the Year 2016

by Limelight Magazine on December 19, 2016 (December 19, 2016) filed under Classical Music | Vocal & Choral | Comment Now
One of Herbert Howells’ many settings of the Anglican act of worship is treated as reverently as it deserves.

Howells
Collegium Regale
Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge/Stephen Layton
Hyperion CDA68105

When I listen to Collegium Regale, I see the vaulting in the King’s college Chapel, and the whole building before me. I feel howells has conjured that with his music, and that speaks to me – Stephen Howell

Howells’ loss was  English music’s gain

Every cloud, they say, has a silver lining. In the dark days of World War II, Cambridge was a bleak place; emptied of students and the famous windows of King’s College Chapel put in storage. A middle-aged Herbert Howells was called upon to deputise at St. John’s College. Having weathered the death of his young son from meningitis and finding his style of music increasingly unfashionable, Howells found solace in university life. Amongst the supportive colleagues he found was the Dean of King’s, Eric Milner-White, who suggested that Howells should write some settings of the canticles for the college chapel. Taking up the challenge reinvigorated Howells’ composing career and gave Anglicans some of their most beloved 20th-century music.

One of the many advantages of this new recording is having all three services on one disc. In recording this music in Coventry Cathedral, Stephen Layton has invested Howells’ music with a grandeur, a space and a freedom that celebrate not only the original elements of its creation (King’s chapel and the Anglican liturgy) but also its universal qualities of beauty and solace that extend beyond these particular inspirations.

These superb performances see Trinity Choir’s trademark blend of passion and technique, all placed at the service of the music’s various moods; whether it be Mary’s quiet praise in the Magnificat, the tenor’s plaint in the Nunc Dimittis or the ebullience of the Jubilate and Gloria. Climaxes are thrilling, texts are sensitively declaimed, dynamics scrupulously observed and singers sensitively accompanied. – Tony Way


The Runners Up

Bach
St. John Passion
RIAS Kammerchor/Réné Jacobs
Harmonia Mundi HMC802236 (2CD)

The Deer’s Cry
Music by Byrd, Tallis & Pärt
The Sixteen/Harry Christophers
Coro COR16140

With Love & Fury
Settings of Judith Wright
Katie Noonan, Brodsky Quartet
Kin Music

Wolf
Lieder
Sophie Karthäuser s, Eugene Asti p
Harmonia Mundi HMC902245