400 Years of Choral Music

400 Years of Choral Music

Oxford Pro Musica Singers
Conducted by Michael Smedley

£ 5.00

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This mixed programme of well-loved choral pieces spans 400 years of English music. Beginning with the music of William Byrd, whose anthem Sing Joyfully epitomises the sacred music of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, this selection of unaccompanied masterpieces provides a cross section of some of the finest English works for choir composed over the succeeding four centuries.

Major works from the English renaissance, and composers including Gibbons, Tomkins and Gibbons, are followed by two masterpieces by Henry Purcell, perhaps the greatest English composer of them all. The rebirth of English music is represented by the two composers who were so instrumental in this revival, Parry and Stanford, and the music of William Walton and Gerald Finzi represents the music of the middle years of the twentieth century.

The CD includes three original pieces by living composers: John Rutter and John Tavener, who have both become household names, and Brian Chapple, whose beautiful Drop, Drop, Slow Tears is recorded here for the first time. One foreign interloper in the collection is Stranger in Paradise, an inspired arrangement by British composer Peter Gritton of the famous song from the American musical Kismet by Robert Wright and George Forrest, itself based on music by the Russian composer Borodin.


Title Composer
Speaker Icon Sing Joyfully William Byrd
When David Heard Thomas Tomkins
Hosanna to the Son of David Thomas Weelkes
O Clap Your Hands Orlando Gibbons
Thou Knowest Lord Henry Purcell
Speaker Icon Hear My prayer, O Lord Henry Purcell
Ceolos Ascendit Hodie C.V. Stanford
Speaker Icon Beati Quorum Via C.V. Stanford
Speaker Icon My Soul There is a Country Hubert Parry
Never Weather Beaten Sail Thomas Campion
Never Weather Beaten Sail Hubert Parry
Set Me as a Seal Upon Thine Heart William Walton *
Faire is the Heaven William Harris
Drop, Drop, Slow Tears Orlando Gibbons
Drop, Drop, Slow Tears Brian Chapple
God Be in My Head Henry Walford Davies
Open Thou Mine Eyes John Rutter
Speaker Icon Song for Athene John Tavener
As Torrents in Summer Edward Elgar
The Bluebird C.V. Stanford **
Stranger in Paradise Peter Gritton
Speaker Icon My Spirit Sang All Day Gerald Finzi
White Flowering Days Gerald Finzi

* Tenor: Nicholas Wright

** Soprano: Alison L’Estrange

Total Time: 70′ 28″
Recorded in the church of SS. Peter and Paul, Deddington, Oxfordshire,
24–25 September 2005, 18 March 2006.