Sir John Tavener: Angels – Winchester Cathedral Choir, Andrew Lumsden – Hyperion

by | Apr 8, 2019 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

Sir John Tavener (1944-2013) Angels & other choral works -Winchester Cathedral Choir, Andrew Lumsden (conductor) Hyperion CD CDA68255 (3/29/18) TT: 69:55 [Distr. by PIAS]

This is a lovely pairing of Tavener’s music and a cathedral and cathedral choir he loved to visit. One of the most arresting of Taverner’s works is God Is With Us, first performed  at the Carol Services in 1987 when the fine tenor soloist, as on this recording, was William Kendall. The text is adapted from the Orthodox Great Compline for Christmas Eve. Before the first performance, John (as always) made very clear the kind of ‘Orthodox’ declamation he required from the soloist, as well as insisting on the purity and the stillness of the choral blend, especially during the pianissimos.

There are several fine compositions on this disc, which is mostly Christmas focused, but like all of Tavener’s music, can be enjoyed anytime.

The sound on this recording is simply splendid, and it captures the ambiance of Winchester Cathedral. I listed both in stereo and with Dolby Pro Logic to open the sound up a bit with my rear speakers. It was a more realistic presentation of the acoustics. The performances are spot on, with the chorus spread seamlessly between my front speakers. When the organ appears, it is deep and resonant. All in all, a lovely disc and one that is highly recommended.

—Mel Martin

Track Listing:
God is with us
Hymns to the Mother of God, #1
Love bade me welcome
As one who has slept
Song for Athene
The Lamb
The Lord’s Prayer
Anthems From the Veil of the Temple
» You mantle yourself in light
» Mother of God, here I stand
» What God is we do not know
» Awed by the beauty
» O Mary Theotokos



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