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CD Review

George Dyson

Choral Music

  • Hierusalem
  • Three Songs of Praise
  • Three Choral Hymns
  • Fantasia and Ground Bass
  • Praise God in His Holiness
Valery Hill, soprano
Thomas Trotter, organ
St. Michael's Singers
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Jonathan Rennert
Hyperion Helios CDH55046 60m DDD
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Helios, the Hyperion budget label continues to churn out some very rare and qualitative repertoire at bargain price. This latest issue features some delightfully descriptive and very 'English' works by Sir George Dyson who was a dapper hand at composing well drilled choral music for almost all occasions.

The songs of praise on hymns are straightforward pieces in the normal mode and contain much that is spiritually edifying and, most of all, comforting. 'O Praise God in His Holiness' is a short two-minute piece written for the 1937 Coronation Service, this has been forgotten with the passages of time but deserves resurrection here.

Dyson's organ skills are demonstrated in the sixteen minute Fantasia and Ground Bass for solo organ where the ranges and variations of the Durham Cathedral organ are explored with great skill by Thomas Trotter who demonstrates his gift for portraying the innate intimacy of this masterpiece. The title track of this disc is kept for last; 'Hierusalem' includes solos for soprano, string quartet and is also scored for harp and organ, surely a very eclectic combination. This is a beautiful work and the RPO together with Valery Hill accompanied by the St. Michael's Singers demonstrate a wholehearted commitment to Dyson's inspired lines.

The early 80's recording has been marvelously refurbished and the whole enterprise is indeed a bargain not to be missed.

Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech