The Girls and Men of Canterbury Cathedral Choir - Great Cathedral Anthems

Published Thursday 25th January 2018
The Girls and Men of Canterbury Cathedral Choir - Great Cathedral Anthems
The Girls and Men of Canterbury Cathedral Choir - Great Cathedral Anthems

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Signum Classics SIGCD514

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Whatever your views on the C of E or the Episcopal system in general you cannot help but admire the beauty of Canterbury Cathedral, one of the great buildings of the world. Presumably the "Great" in the title of this collection is pointing towards the anthems rather than the recording location and while we are spoiled for choice when we think of the many great anthems in our hymnbooks the 13 chosen here are all well worth hearing. We follow a chronological order from "Honor, Virtus Et Potestas" ("Honour, Power And Might") by Thomas Tallis (c 1505-1585) to "Let All The World In Every Corner Sing" by Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988) and on the way meet some of the other great composers from within the Anglican tradition including William Byrd's "Ave Verum Corpus", three motets from Charles Villiers Stanford, Hubert Parry's "I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me" and "Like As The Hart Desireth The Waterbrooks" by Herbert Howells. By now alert readers will see the problem: if you have any sort of collection of church choral music you may well have versions of some or indeed much of the programme. Thus we have to ask ourselves whether we need another recording. Since their debut in 2014 The Girls' Choir of Canterbury Cathedral have become leading lights in the British choral music landscape. In this, their first recording with Signum, they are led by director David Newsholme and joined by the Men of Canterbury Cathedral choir, as well as organists Aidan Bawtree and Nicholas Wearne. The sound quality is excellent and the blend of voices works although I can hear some traditionalists say that they prefer boy trebles to girl sopranos. So, there are caveats. How much of the material is over familiar and whether you want a traditional male choir will decide whether this is for you. Taken on its own terms, this is a good selection of great anthems written by great composers sung by a talented choir on top form.

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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