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Britten: A Ceremony of Carols, etc / Westminister Cathedral

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28
>Britten, Benjamin : Missa Brevis, for boys' chorus & organ in D major, Op. 63
>Britten, Benjamin : Hymn to the Virgin
>Britten, Benjamin : A Hymn of Saint Columba
>Britten, Benjamin : Deus in adjutorium meum, motet for chorus (from "This Way to the Tomb")
>Britten, Benjamin : Jubilate Deo, for chorus & organ in E flat major
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

'Not to be missed' (Gramophone)

'The ensemble is superb, the solo work amazingly mature, and the range of tonal coloring a delight. This is an outstanding collection, beautifully and atmospherically recorded' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
A Ceremony of Carols sets nine medieval and 16th-century poems between the 'Hodie' of the plainsong Vespers. The sole accompanying instrument is a harp, but given the right acoustic, sensitive attention to the words and fine rhythmic control the piece has a remarkable richness and depth. The Westminster Cathedral Choir performs this work beautifully; diction is immaculate and the acoustic halo surrounding the voices gives a festive glow to the performance. A fascinating Jubilate and A Hymn to theVirgin, while lacking the invention and subtlety of A Ceremony, intrigue with some particularly felicitous use of harmony and rhythm. Deus inadjutorum meum employs the choir without accompaniment and has an initial purity that gradually builds up in texture as the psalm (No 70) gathers momentum.

The Missa brevis was written for this very choir and George Malcolm's nurturing of a tonal brightness in the choir allowed Britten to use the voices in a more flexible and instrumental manner than usual. The effect is glorious. St Columba founded the monastery on the Scottish island of Iona and Britten's hymn sets his simple and forthright prayer with deceptive simplicity and directness. The choir sings beautifully and the recording is first rate.



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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28
  • Performers: Robert Ogden (Treble); Francis Shepherd (Treble); Jeremy Unwin (Treble); Sioned Williams (Harp)
  • Notes: Westminster Cathedral, London, England (06/26/1986-06/27/1986)
  • Running Time: 22 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1942

>Britten, Benjamin : Missa Brevis, for boys' chorus & organ in D major, Op. 63
  • Performers: Robert Holmes (Treble); James O'Donnell (Organ); Robert Ogden (Treble)
  • Notes: Westminster Cathedral, London, England (06/26/1986-06/27/1986)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1959

>Britten, Benjamin : Hymn to the Virgin
  • Performers: Simon Davies (Tenor); Robert Jones (Countertenor); Francis Shepherd (Treble)
  • Notes: Westminster Cathedral, London, England (06/26/1986-06/27/1986)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1930

>Britten, Benjamin : A Hymn of Saint Columba
  • Performers: Gordon Jones; James O'Donnell (Organ)
  • Notes: Westminster Cathedral, London, England (06/26/1986-06/27/1986)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1962

>Britten, Benjamin : Deus in adjutorium meum, motet for chorus (from "This Way to the Tomb")
  • Notes: Westminster Cathedral, London, England (06/26/1986-06/27/1986)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1945

>Britten, Benjamin : Jubilate Deo, for chorus & organ in E flat major
  • Performer: James O'Donnell (Organ)
  • Notes: Westminster Cathedral, London, England (06/26/1986-06/27/1986)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1934