Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
There are 21 hymns in this collection, all can lay claim to being established classics and many would come up in many lists of favourites. The ones chosen here allow the Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge to show us what they can do and the singing is exemplary throughout. While I say "choir" in the singular, Jesus College is unusual in having two complementary choirs on which to call: the Chapel Choir of boy choristers and adult male singers - the traditional Anglican choir - plus the College Choir, formed in 1982, which features female undergraduate sopranos and altos. The two choirs are used separately and in combination in the regular life of the chapel and also on this disc. And while we are listing the credits, so to speak, we must tip our hat to the organists Jordan Wong and Dewi Rees as well as Director Richard Pinel who keeps everyone in order. Hymns are a living link with the past yet they still find freshness and relevance in the 21st century. Thomas Aquinas commented that "hymns are the praise of God with song; a song is the exultation of the mind dwelling on eternal things, bursting forth in the voice" and this explains neatly the vital place that hymnody has enjoyed throughout the ages, and continues to do so today. 'Praise My Soul' celebrates this tradition and showcases some of the hymns heard in Jesus College Chapel in their own regular pattern of choral services. Some of these, including "Drop, Drop, Slow Tears" (Orlando Gibbons) and "Glory To Thee, My God" (Thomas Tallis), have been sung regularly for hundreds of years. Others such as "All My Hope On God Is founded" (Herbert Howells) or "Christ Triumphant, Ever Reigning" (John Barnard) have become classics over the last half-century. There is nothing here that is not worth hearing and while your own favourites may or may not be present there is much to applaud and appreciate.
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