Reviewed by Ian Hayter
10 years ago Songs Of Praise put out a 40th anniversary album and here is their Golden Jubilee edition containing over twice as many tracks on two discs. It's a good selection, with most people's favourite traditional hymn somewhere on here, I guess - but it's a very narrow selection. With the exception of Michael Perry's arrangement of "Like A Mighty River Flowing" (based on a 14th century hymn), John Rutter's excellent version of "For The Beauty Of The Earth" and the evergreen "How Great Thou Art", there are no hymns from the last century, let alone the last 50 years. Considering the number of more contemporary hymns and worship songs that have featured on the programme in recent years, we might have expected offerings from Timothy Dudley-Smith, Graham Kendrick, Stuart Townend or Bernadette Farrell at the very least. If you enjoy the standard traditional hymns, though, there's plenty here, from "Abide With Me" to "When I Survey", sung by a variety of ensembles and soloists including male voice choirs, cathedral choirs, philharmonic choruses and a couple of massed choirs. It's all impeccably produced by the folk from the BBC, of course, but isn't exactly doing much to move forward the cause of worship music.
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A great collection of classic songs and hymns as featured on the BBC Songs of Praise series over the past 50 years.
Featuring York Minster Choir, Huddersfield Choral Society, Choir Of King’s College Cambridge, Huddersfield Choral Society, Libera, Temple Church Choir, Skelmanthorpe Male Choir, Massed Choirs from Merseyside, Stephen Cleobury, Sir David Willcocks, Sir Charles Groves, John Scott, Ian Wells and more.