A beautifully themed collection of fourteen of the finest unaccompanied British choral masterpieces of the last 125 years, performed by the award-winning Choir of The King’s Consort.
The fascinating mix of familiar and unfamiliar works includes five ‘paired’ but contrasting settings: William Harris’s classic 1959 Bring us, O Lord God is partnered by James Macmillan’s 2010 version of the same text; Herbert Howells’ devastatingly poignant Take him, earth, for cherishing (written in memory of the slain President J F Kennedy) is juxtaposed with John Tavener’s 2008 response to the same text; Justorum animae (‘The souls of the righteous’) is heard in versions by Lennox Berkeley and Charles Villiers Stanford, with a tenderly melodious setting, in English, by Herbert Murrill; plangent settings of Drop, drop, slow tears come from Kenneth Leighton and a recent composition by Thomas Hewitt Jones; and Stanford’s beautifully crafted I heard a voice from Heaven is coupled – and totally contrasted – with Herbert Howells’ exquisite, mystical setting of the same words.
The collection is completed with three impressive single works: Hubert Parry’s valedictory Lord, let me know mine end, William Harris’s acknowledged masterwork Faire is the Heaven, and a powerful recording of John Tavener’s extraordinary Song for Athene, which sprang to global fame when performed at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales: after five subdued sections of resigned calm, the triumphant final stanza that ends the disc comes as a stunning sonic sunburst.
The recording was made in the glorious acoustic of St Jude’s Church, Hampstead, where TKC has made seventy of its discs, by the award-winning team of producer Adrian Peacock and engineer David Hinitt. Extensive presentation includes a 64-page booklet with an authoritative liner note in three languages by conductor Robert King, together with full sung texts and five pages of session photographs.