Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
The advent of metrical psalms was mainly, although not exclusively, the trademark of the Protestant church. These psalms were intended to be sung by the choir and the congregation, much like hymns today. This album was recorded earlier this year at Croydon Minster, with whom Whitgift School enjoys a long and successful music partnership. Ronny Krippner, Director of Choral Music at Whitgift School, directs the Croydon Minster Choir of Whitgift School and the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble (ECSE) in their exploration of 'The Tudor Choir Book'. The album includes recordings of rare Tudor instrumental works by Giovanni Coperario, Jerome Bassano and Alfonso Ferrabosco the elder, captured on period instruments, as well as choral greats from Thomas Tallis, Adrian Batten, Thomas Morley and Peter Phillips, performed by the Croydon Minster Choir of Whitgift School with the ECSE. As a journey back in time this is fascinating and while, personally, I enjoy singing the occasional metrical psalm I would not want this to be my staple and I think the same could be said as a listener. I found the period instrumental items to be more listenable, in part because they are so well played while the choir sounded what it is: a school choir. A good one to be sure but in places not quite hitting all the high notes. Not enough to spoil my enjoyment of the recording but sufficiently noticeable to justify drawing it to your attention. No doubt if we travelled back to Tudor Croydon the choir would sound much the same and Archbishop John Whitgift, Croydon's most important benefactor and Queen Elizabeth I's favourite Archbishop of Canterbury, would be glad to tell us why this form of worship was so important.
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