Feast of St Michael and All Angels at Westminster Abbey

The Feast of St Michael and All Angels at Westminster Abbey

by Choir of Westminster Abbey
     
 
The aim of this program is simple, but it's one that is not often attempted, at Westminster Abbey or anywhere else. To quote the superb notes by conductor James O'Donnell, "This disc contains music you might hear if you visited Westminster Abbey on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, commonly called Michaelmas, which falls on 29 September." The program, he goes

Overview

The aim of this program is simple, but it's one that is not often attempted, at Westminster Abbey or anywhere else. To quote the superb notes by conductor James O'Donnell, "This disc contains music you might hear if you visited Westminster Abbey on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, commonly called Michaelmas, which falls on 29 September." The program, he goes on, reflects the day's three major services, the Morning Prayer (Matins), Eucharist (Mass), and Evening Prayer (Evensong). Such reenactments of liturgical events, in most places, are centered on music of a specific style, but at Westminster Abbey, with its centuries-long traditions, music of different eras coexist easily within a single segment of music, linked together by the distinctive warm sound of the Abbey's men and boys choir, by its marvelously clear acoustic, and by the liturgical texts involved. From the opening "Factum est silentium" by little-known Renaissance composer Richard Dering, the music proceeds through a psalm setting by the primly Victorian Charles Villiers Stanford, the unusually exultant "Te Deum in G" of Vaughan Williams, and the almost playful "Jubilate in C" of Britten. The Eucharist and Evensong bring yet more new dimensions, with the murky lyricism of the modern French organ school exemplified in the "Messe solonelle" of Jean Langlais and two extraordinary works (in Latin, strangely enough) by Michael Tippett -- the vaguely antique "Plebs angelica" and the thorny Magnificat and Nunc dimittis collectively called "Collegium Sancti Johannis Cantabrigiense." After Herbert Howells' early "Sequence for St. Michael," with the most detailed response to the text of any of the pieces, comes Jonathan Harvey's organ piece "Laus Deo" in conclusion -- aptly described by O'Donnell as "the opulent psychedelia of "Turangalila" compressed into four minutes of astonishing energy and power." The program wouldn't have held together in any other setting than this one -- and that is the source of its power: it embodies a living tradition. The choristers articulate the words so clearly that the full texts included (in English only, and Latin where original) are hardly needed. British choral music is not for everyone, but even the Anglicanophobic are hereby urged to give this a try, and also informed that Hyperion records music like this better than anyone else.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/11/2007
Label:
Hyperion Uk
UPC:
0034571176437
catalogNumber:
67643

Tracks

  1. Factum est Silentium for 6 voices & continuo
  2. Preces and Responses No. 1, for cantor, chorus & organ: The Preces
  3. Psalm 148 "Laudate Dominum", for chorus
  4. Te Deum for chorus & organ (or orchestra) in G
  5. Jubilate Deo, for chorus & organ in C major
  6. Preces and Responses No. 2, for cantor, chorus & organ: The Responses
  7. Messe Solennelle for chorus & organ
  8. Plebs angelica, motet for double chorus
  9. Psalm 91 "Qui habitat", for chorus
  10. Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis (Evening Canticles), for chorus & organ
  11. Sequence for St Michael, A, motet for soprano, tenor, chorus & organ
  12. Laus Deo for organ

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