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Posted October 20, 2013
Hymns ancient and modern (and recycled)
This is a reissue of a 1990 album (consequently a modest 57 minutes in playing time) by the Westminster Choir under its longtime director Joseph Flummerfelt. It is not British/Anglican style hymn performance--my own preference--but basic American, with a surprising amount of unison singing, which is kind of a shame. When the choir sings a cappella, and/or softly, the sound is quite beautiful. Performances are certainly not bad, but often seem more dutiful than inspired, though the group does get more lively with "How Firm a Foundation." Descants for the sopranos or organ are mostly eschewed, and verses are dropped from nearly every hymn. Other than the stated theme, there seems to be no pattern to the arrangement or choice of the selections included. (One assumes they were the conductor's favorites, as some of the anthems are pretty obscure.) While the sound is good, words are not always as clear as they might be. All sung texts are provided in the booklet, but no credit for either words or music to the hymns. Ah well; you pays your money, and you takes your choice.