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Abbey Choir’s new CD celebrates choral classics

Friday, 29th May 2020

Abbey Choir’s new CD celebrates choral classics

The Abbey Choir’s latest CD is released today, with Parry's Songs of farewell featuring alongside works by Stanford, Gray and Wood.

The CD is the twentieth title the Choir has recorded for the Hyperion label, in a partnership which dates back to 2005. The Choir’s critically acclaimed catalogue spans six centuries and includes collections of music for the great feasts of the church year; programmes of Tudor music by Byrd, Ludford, Taverner and Tye; Parry ceremonial music with Onyx Brass; Duruflé Requiem with Britten Sinfonia; and several recordings celebrating masterpieces of the Anglican choral tradition from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The new recording is directed by the Abbey’s Organist and Master of the Choristers, James O’Donnell, and was recorded in June 2019 at All Hallows’ Church, Gospel Oak.

James O'Donnell said:

Our recordings are an indispensable part of the Abbey Choir's work, complementing the live music we provide in the Abbey day after day in services, broadcasts and concerts. I hope they also tell a bigger story about what the Abbey itself stands for, not least the twin pillars of excellence and service. I am delighted that this latest CD, the twentieth in our very happy partnership with one of the UK's most celebrated record labels, forms the latest chapter in our exploration of the riches of the English sacred choral repertoire, ranging from the fifteenth century to the present day. This represents the musical backbone of our daily work and we are thrilled to be able share it so widely through our recordings. The new disc comprises a collection of fine nineteenth- and twentieth-century music for unaccompanied choir. Parry's moving Songs of Farewell form the centrepiece: a powerful and affecting set of six anthems which were among his last completed works. I do hope listeners will enjoy the disc.

Founded in 1980, Hyperion is an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music from the twelfth to the twenty-first century. Named after one of the twelve Titans of Greek mythology, Hyperion’s catalogue encompasses a wide spectrum of repertoire: sacred and secular, choral and solo vocal, orchestral, chamber and instrumental. James O’Donnell’s personal association with the label dates back to his early career, when as Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral he directed the Cathedral Choir in numerous Hyperion recordings, including a CD of Masses by Frank Martin and Pizzetti which won the prestigious Gramophone ‘Record of the Year’ award – an unprecedented achievement for a cathedral choir.

In recent weeks, the Abbey Choir’s Hyperion recordings have been reaching new audiences around the world via the Abbey’s new podcast series. Abbeycast was launched in late March to provide continued access to worship while churches are closed during the coronavirus crisis.


The album

Parry: Songs of Farewell

Parry: Songs of Farewell is available from Hyperion Records.

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I’ve worked here for over thirty years and have seen many of the major services - it’s strange to realise that you are in a small way part of history.

Pamela - Rector's Secretary

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