The Feast of St Michael and All Angels at Westminster Abbey
Released September 2007 (Hyperion CDA67643)
Continuing its series exploring the rich repertoire of music for the church’s great feasts, here the Abbey Choir presents a selection of music for Michaelmas.
Dering Factum est silentium
Stanford Psalm 148 ‘Laudate Dominum’
Vaughan Williams Te Deum in G
Britten Jubilate in C
Leighton Preces and Responses
Langlais Messe solennelle
Tippett Plebs angelica
Alcock Psalm 91 ‘Qui habitat’
Tippett Magnificat and Nunc dimittis ‘Collegium Sancti Johannis Cantabrigiense’
Howells A Sequence for St Michael
Harvey Laus Deo
The Choir of Westminster Abbey
Robert Quinney organ
James O’Donnell conductor
The Feast of St Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas) falls on 29 September and the texts of the day are uniquely dramatic and visionary. Describing the angelic host and the war in heaven, they have inspired composers throughout the centuries to create settings of thrilling immediacy. This fascinating disc presents the best of these works from a range of composers.
Included is most of the liturgical output of Sir Michael Tippett, whose joyful, extroverted compositional style and powerful sense of drama are perfect for the atmosphere of this festival. Langlais’ tremendous Messe solennelle is unquestionably his finest piece of church music; radiant and impassioned, using the organ particularly brilliantly to create colour and emotional depth. Herbert Howells’s A Sequence for St Michael is an excellent example of the mature style of the composer, an extended and substantial setting in which the Archangel’s intercession is movingly invoked.
"The disc is a splendid and colourful addition to the Abbey Choir's recordings of special services."
"The choir, atmospherically recorded in the Abbey itself, sings this demanding repertoire with its customary zeal and a well-blended sound, and the performances are directed with the panache and style one has come to expect from James O'Donnell."
- The Telegraph