Latest CD release from the Choir of Westminster Abbey
Tuesday, 20th April 2010
The latest CD release from the Choir of Westminster Abbey has already won critical acclaim.
The release of O Praise the Lord: Restoration Music from Westminster Abbey coincides with the 350th anniversary of the Restoration – when the coronation of King Charles II marked the restoration of the Stuarts – and the monarchy – after the English Civil War and the subsequent era of Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph the music critic Geoffrey Norris said:
The Restoration was a strong era for English ecclesiastical music thanks to composers such as Purcell and John Blow.
Alongside their works, the Choir of Westminster Abbey sings anthems and psalm settings by William Child and William Turner, with the organist Robert Quinney contributing voluntaries by Blow and Purcell.
Much of this material still lives on in cathedrals and churches around the country, most notably Purcell's B flat Service.
The Abbey choir, under James O'Donnell, conveys the thrill of Purcell's music and the whole disc is marked by crucial attention to the articulation of words and to the careful balancing of choral sonorities.
In the CD’s sleeve notes the Abbey’s Sub-Organist Robert Quinney says:
The triumphant mood of the Restoration required much glorious liturgical music, and the Abbey was home to some of the greatest composers and performers of the age. This recording presents music likely to have been sung by - and in some cases, almost certain to have been written for - the Choir of Westminster Abbey during the late 1670s and early 1680s.
They sing four canticles from the compendious Service in B flat by Henry Purcell, together with psalmody in reconstructed contemporary style, and anthems and motets by Purcell and his contemporary John Blow, who famously both preceded and succeeded Purcell as Organist of the Abbey.
O Praise the Lord: Restoration Music from Westminster Abbey (CDA67792) is available from Hyperion Records and the Westminster Abbey Shop.