Tomkins is a rather neglected figure in the British choral firmament but this well planned disc demonstrates his prowess and varied talents on the vocal front. The pieces are generally short, reflective odes with an emphasis on counterpoint and halo-like voices that are so characteristic of British Renaissance church music.
Amongst the best works, one may include the lovely Magnificat from the Third Service, "Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom", "Sing unto God" and "When David heard". Perhaps the vocal line is not always as memorable as the more familiar Byrd, Weelkes or Taverner but Tomkins demonstrates secure knowledge of composition and a penchant for dramatic tunes.
The famous Choir of St. George's Chapel sing with the utmost conviction and determination and they are sensitively conducted by Christopher Robinson and the organist, Roger Judd. The project is sensitively recorded and at the bargain basement Helios price, one cannot really hesitate.
Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech