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.
* 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.