The Feast of the Ascension at Westminster Abbey
Released April 2008 (Hyperion CDA67680)
The Choir of Westminster Abbey continues its exploration of the rich repertoire for the great feast days of the church year with this programme of music for the Feast of the Ascension.
Stanford Caelos ascendit hodie
Rose Preces and Responses
Barnby Psalm 24 ‘Domini est terra’
Britten Festival Te Deum in E
Schütz Der 100. Psalm
Vaughan Williams O clap your hands ‘Psalm 47’
Walton Missa Brevis
Finzi God is gone up
Philips Ascendit Deus
Macfarren Psalm 93 ‘Dominus regnavit’
Walton Chichester Service
Gowers Viri Galilaei
Ascension Day is a particular moment of celebration within the annual round of Easter praise and is celebrated in glorious and triumphal language. The works recorded here range from the intricate and joyful writing of sixteenth-century composer Peter Philips to fascinating and appealing pieces by contemporary composers. Along the way are works from the great flowering of English cathedral music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including the Missa Brevis and Chichester Service by Sir William Walton, together with works by Britten, Finzi, Stanford and Vaughan Williams.
James O’Donnell conductor
Robert Quinney organ
The Choir of Westminster Abbey
"This addition to Westminster Abbey's invaluable series of music for feast-days gets off to a cracking start with Stanford's magnificent eight-part motet Caelos ascendit hodie. This sets a jubilant tone for the whole programme, which contains some outstanding 20th-century contributions to the Anglican repertoire, including Britten's Festival Te Deum with its exciting organ effects, Finzi's triumphant God Is Gone Up and Patrick Gowers's Viri Galilaei, whose meditative opening leads to a paean of exultation. All these, and Schutz's Der 100. Psalm, are sung with exhilarating panache."
- Daily Telegraph
"No one does this grand scale of Anglican service music better than Westminster Abbey, and again the performances of this very demanding music are of the highest order … truly a triumphant recording."
- American Record Guide
"Another offering to lift the soul heavenwards from James O'Donnell and his choir [...] this is Westminster Abbey Choir at their crystalline best, with spot-on pitching, enviable articulation and sympathetic phrasing."
- BBC online