Released February 2011 (Hyperion CDA67858)
The Choir of Westminster Abbey presents a selection of works from the first quarter of the seventeenth century, when the most distinguished musicians in the land produced a rich variety of music for the court of King James I.
Tomkins Be strong and of a good courage
Gibbons Great king of gods
Gibbons O all true faithful hearts
Gibbons Fancy in C fa ut
Hooper Great Service
Tomkins O sing unto the Lord a new song
Gibbons Fancy in Gamutt flatt
Tomkins When David heard
Tomkins Then David mourned
Ramsey How are the mighty fallen
Gibbons See, see, the Word is incarnate
Gibbons Fantazia of foure parts
Gibbons Hosanna to the Son of David
Gibbons O Lord, in thy wrath rebuke me not
Gibbons Almighty and everlasting God
Gibbons O clap your hands
James O’Donnell conductor
Robert Quinney organ
The Choir of Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey has been the focus of British royal occasions for centuries, and the early seventeenth century saw the most dazzling musicians of the age writing music for the Court in all its various incarnations.
The most celebrated name on this disc is that of Orlando Gibbons, who was Organist and Master of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey from 1623–1625. Some of his most masterly works are presented here, including the gloriously contrapuntal O clap your hands and the startlingly original verse anthem See, see, the Word is incarnate, setting an extraordinary text which covers the whole of the liturgical year.
Also featured are works by Edmund Hooper and John Parsons (both, like Gibbons, employed by the Abbey as Organist and Master of the Choristers), along with Thomas Tomkins and Robert Ramsey.
"This is good singing, and many choirs would envy the tight ensemble, impeccable intonation and crystal-clear diction, not to mention the unfailingly excellent solo voices drawn from the ranks of the choir."
- International Record Review
It’s very hard not to be enthusiastic working at the Abbey. If this place doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will.