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CD Review

Trinity Sunday at Westminster Abbey

  • Thomas Tomkins: The Preces
  • George Elvey: Psalm 115
  • Benjamin Britten: Te Deum in C
  • William Walton: Jubilate
  • Thomas Tomkins/John Farmer: The Responses
  • Francis Grier: Missa Trinitatis Sanctae
  • Edward Bairstow: Psalm 107
  • Herbert Howells:
  • Magnificat
  • Nunc Dimittis "Westminster Service"
  • John Stainer: I saw the Lord
  • Charles Villiers Stanford: Fantasia & Toccata in D minor, Op. 57
Robert Quinney, organ
The Choir of Westminster Abbey/James O'Donnell
Hyperion CDA67557 78m DDD
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This disc sees the beginning of an exciting new collaboration between Hyperion and the Choir of Westminster Abbey which is considered as the finest of the Church of England. This initial instalment presents a sequence of music as might be performed in the Abbey on Trinity Sunday, opening with the Abbey's bells summoning the worshippers for a day of prayer and thanksgiving.

After this evocative start, the listener is taken through the three principal services of the day, Matins, Eucharist and Evesong; in an explosion of wondrous sounds and a celestial atmosphere. The album includes a vast array of composers who have left a mark in English musical history of the past four hundred years.

These include Thomas Tomkins, Edward Bairstow, John Stainer, Charles Stanford, Herbert Howells, George Elvey, Benjamin Britten and the contemporary Francis Grier, all contributing with their wonderful inspirations in making this sumptuous undertaking a memorable and stirring occasion.

Apart from the devotional and at times, ecstatic singing, this disc is also endowed with a wonderful dissertation by the Dean of Westminster Dr. Wesley Carr on the history of music-making in the Abbey through the centuries. James O'Donnell's notes on the works proper also make riveting reading. With a very generous playing time, this CD is another feather in the cap for this small but very enterprising company which has been on the forefront of the British Record Industry for well over two decades.

Copyright © 2006, Gerald Fenech