Recordings of the Month 2013
The Recording of the month highlights a particularly good, interesting recording and may be a new release or from the existing catalogue.
Recording of the month: December 2013
Bach Christmas Oratorio
Stephen Layton and Trinity College Choir, Cambridge
Hyperion CDA 68031/2
This vibrant new recording by Stephen Layton and the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge has a dazzling line up of soloists: Katherine Watson, Iestyn Davies, Matthew Brook and James Gilchrist as the Evangelist. There's a real sense of jubilation right from the opening chorus with crisp choral singing and exquisite accompaniment. Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in Leipzig for Christmas 1734 it was performed as six individual cantatas on Christmas Day and the two following days, the Feast of the Circumcision, the first Sunday in the New Year and the Epiphany. Bach gave one performance in the morning in the Thomaskirche and in the afternoon in the Nikolaikirche and then reversed the order for the next cantata etc. But the six cantatas make a wonderful Oratorio and you won't be disappointed if you put this one on your Christmas wish list. http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/search.php?searchString=CDA+68031
Recording of the month: November 2013
Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his Monteverdi Choir
SDG SDG 716
Sir John Eliot Gardiner has won countless awards for his outstanding Bach recordings over the past 30 years or more with the Monteverdi Choir, themselves nominated by Gramophone magazine as 'The Greatest Choir in the World'. Now this landmark recording of Bach's Motets has won the Baroque Vocal award in this year's Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2013. Johann Sebastian Bach remains the epitome of Church Music composers and devoted his years in Leipzig to the Church Cantatas, Motets, the St John and St Matthew Passions and the B minor Mass. http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/search.php?searchString=SDG+716
Sir John has just published his Portrait of Johan Sebastian Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven in which he explains how this ordinary man produced such miraculous music.
Recording of the month: October 2013
A Year at Southwark
The Choir of Southwark Cathedral directed by Peter Wright
REGENT REGCD 376
This Regent series is providing some delightful CDs of a wide variety of choral works and this one adopts the same pattern as the others. It has a fine and varied repertoire following the liturgical year with works by Weelkes, Moore, HAndel, Byrd, Mendelssohn, Stainer, Vaughan Williams, Lotti, MacMillan, Weakley, Stanford, Rose, Cox, IReland & Brahms. Highlights are Moore's All wisdom cometh from the Lord, Mendelssohn's Hear my prayer and Stanford's For lo, I rise up. Peter Wright has devoted 20 years to enhancing the musical life of the cathedral and this CD is a fine testimony to his work. http://www.regent-records.co.uk/product_details_236.htm
Recording of the month: September 2013
A Year at York
The Choir of York Minster directed by Robert Sharpe
REGENT REGCD 368
This, the first of a new series 'A Year at ....', uses the seaons of the church year as a framework. It features a number of works written for the Choir of York Minster, several receiving their first recording, together with other well loved items charting the major festivals of the Church year. The music on this recording is of consistently high quality, superbly performed and the Minster acoustic is exploited fully without loss of clarity. Cathedral music at its very best.. http://www.regent-records.co.uk/product_details_228.htm
Recording of the month: August 2013
Choirbook for the Queen
11 anthems from Choirbook for the Queen: The BBC Singers
PRIORY PRCD 1097
During the nine years leading up to The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2012, the Master of the Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davis, put together a 'choirbook' of English choral music in celebration of the Golden Jubilee. The project was developed by an Advisory Board that included Stephen Cleobury (King's College, Cambridge) and Dr Christopher Robinson (former Director of Music, St John's College, Cambridge & FCM President) as well as Maxwell Davis himself. The Choirbook contains 44 anthems by modern composers and 80 cathedral and choral foundations sang the anthems during 2012. Each of these institutions were given a set of choirbooks to enable them to introduce the anthems into their normal repertorie. The Choribook for the Queen inevitably prompt compairons with the Eton Choirbook (the subject of last month's 'Recording of the Month') and the most obvious difference is the presence of accompaniment for most ot the anthems in the Choirbook for The Queen.
Recording of the month: July 2013
Choirs of Angels
Music from the Eton Choirbook Vol.2: Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford directed by Stephen Darlington
Avie AV 2184
Fine performances of this 16th century music with glorious sound from this fine choir in their second volume of music from the Eton Choirbook.
Recording of the month: June 2013
Hear my Words
Choral Classics from St John's College, Cambridge directed by Andrew Nethsingha
CHANDOS CHSA 5085
An interestng and diverse programme of music by Allegri, Grieg, Rachmaninov, Palestrina, Franck, Rutter, Fauré, Parry and others. Andrew Nethsingha has now been at St John's since 2007 and clearly put his mark on the work of the choir. From the opening Allegri Miseré with impeccable top C's to the closing title track anthem by Parry, this highly recommended CD will not disappoint. The setting by John Rutter of Psalm 139, O Lord thou hast searched me out, was commissioned by the College in 2007.
Recording of the month: May 2013
John Rutter: The Tewkesbury Collection
Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum directed by Benjamin Nicholas
This final recording by Benjamin Nicholas, before taking up his post as Director of Music at Merton College, Oxford, is a programme of John Rutter's music includig some of his most familiar pieces but also including some less well known. The singing by Schola Cantorum is beautiful in the excellent acoustic of Tewkesbury Abbey. A recording which is highly recommended.
Recording of the month: April 2013
The Genius of Cavaillé-Coll
Fugue State Films
This massive undertaking comprises 3 DVDs and 2 CDs setting out the story of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, one of the greatest organ huilders of all time. The first DVD is a documentary explaining how Cavaillé-Coll designed and built superb oirganswhich were played bu Widor, Franck, Guilmant and Vierne. It explains the clever 'Barker lever'pneumatic action and the new ventil system enabling players to prepare and select combinations of stops. On the second and thrid DVDs there are superb perfomances by today's top French organists Olivier Latry, Daniel Roth, Michel Bouvard and many others on fifteen different instruments dating from 1849 to 1894 in 5.1 surround sound. There are more performances on the two CDs of this magnificent set which is a must for any organ lover. Wouldn't it be wonderful if Fugue State Fims now start work on a similar set of the wonderful instruments of that other genius Father Willis.
Recording of the month: March 2013
Haydn: Nelson Mass
Choir of New College Oxford & New Century Baroque directed by Edward Higginbottom
Novum NCR 1385
A fine liturgical performance of Haydn's Missa in Augustiis, composed during the Napoleonic wars. The soprano solos
are sung by a fine boy treble with the atmospheric acoustic of the College Chapel.
Recording of the month: February 2013
A year at Winchester
Winchester Cathedral Choir (boys, girls and lay clerks) directed by Andrew Lumsden
Regent REGCD 572
This CD is a delight from every angle. The choir is superb and the recording excellent.
The programme is an appealing mix of music that does exactly what te title leads you to expect.
Recording of the month: January 2013
Britten: The Sacred Choral Music
The choir of New College, Oxford directed by Edward Higginbottom
Novum NCR 1386
New College Oxford choir was one of the first to recognise the quality of Britten's sacred choral music from the mid 20th century.
This newly recorded 2 CD set was recorded to mark the centenary in 2013 of Britten's birth.
It contains well known favourites such as the Hymn to Saint Cecilia and Rejoice in the Lamb, together with a number lesser known gems.