Anthony Burton - The Story Of British Classical Music

Published Wednesday 4th October 2006
Anthony Burton - The Story Of British Classical Music
Anthony Burton - The Story Of British Classical Music

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Naxos 855819394

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

There is much to praise in this collection but first a warning: you get both sacred and secular music from across the classical continuum. There is much that is specifically Christian and more from composers who worked both inside and outside the Church but if you are looking for a history of British Church music this is not it. The compiler, Anthony Burton, has not gone very deep into the riches of choral music and has tended to avoid hymns altogether. This leads us into a debate on the very nature of "classical" music and Burton has some interesting comments on this in the 20,000-word essay that accompanies the CDs. Also he has had to make decisions as to what is "British" music. Thus Handel is out as he was born in Germany, which seems harsh and certainly deprives us of some wonderful music. Curiously, we get a generous extract from Michael Tippett's 'Child Of Our Time' featuring the spiritual "Nobody Knows" which is, of course, African American. There is so much here that a brief review cannot begin to do it justice. There are 36 different composers; the extracts are mostly complete works or movements and the illustrated booklet also included recommendations for further listening.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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