Britten: The Sacred Choral Music / Choir of New College Oxford, Higginbottom

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : Hymn to St Cecilia, Op. 27
>Britten, Benjamin : A Wedding Anthem, for soprano, tenor, chorus & organ, Op. 46
>Britten, Benjamin : The Company of Heaven
>Britten, Benjamin : Te Deum in C major
>Britten, Benjamin : Jubilate Deo, for chorus & organ in E flat major
>Britten, Benjamin : Hymn to St Peter, Op. 56a
>Britten, Benjamin : A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28
>Britten, Benjamin : Rejoice in the Lamb, festival cantata for trumpet, ATB soloists, chorus & organ, Op. 30
>Britten, Benjamin : Festival Te Deum in E major, Op. 32
>Britten, Benjamin : Venite exultemus Domino, psalm for chorus & organ in C major
>Britten, Benjamin : Jubilate Deo
>Britten, Benjamin : Hymn to the Virgin
>Britten, Benjamin : Missa Brevis, for boys' chorus & organ in D major, Op. 63
>Britten, Benjamin : A Hymn of Saint Columba
>Britten, Benjamin : A.M.D.G.
>Britten, Benjamin : Antiphon, Op. 56b
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Benjamin Britten's sacred music is among the most engaging and original music of its kind composed in the middle years of the 20th century. New College Choir was among the first to recognize its quality, and continues to sing it with passion and panache. This new anthology (in 2 CDs) is an overarching view of his work in this domain, featuring favorites such as Rejoice in the Lamb alongside settings more rarely heard, the Hymns to St Peter and of St Columba, and the wedding anthem Amo ergo sum.

American Record Guide, September/October 2013
With the centenary of Britten's birth (2013) in full swing, any self-respecting English choir is going to be recording his music. New College Oxford's contribution contains 15 standard Britten sacred choral pieces, plus two prayers from A.M.D.G.. There are some of the shorter pieces: Hymn to the Virgin, St Cecilia, to St Peter, of St Colomba, and both Jubilate Deos and both Te Deums. Longer pieces include Ceremony of Carols, Rejoice in the Lamb, Missa Brevis. The Oxfordians are treble boys and men, just as Britten specified. The Ceremony of Carols, icy sound of a winter night so important to the ambiance.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Chapel of New College Oxford (2011-07-18_2011-07-20&2012-).



Reviews

New College Celebrates Britten Choral Legacy
New College Oxford singers present this collection of Benjamin Britten’s sacred choral compositions in a two-cd set recorded in 2011-12. Three decades of work spanning poetry, praise, wedding celebration, mass, and concerts are performed by treble students and professionals with a long affiliation for this music under the direction of Sir Edward Higginbottom, a legend in his field. The standard expected for Britten’s music and New College is unequivocally maintained throughout.


While Britten’s twentieth-century music may give an impression of dissonance to the new listener, it is unmistakably joyous and uplifting. Once enraptured, the audience returns again and again to glean more intricacy and meaning from this giant of the musical world. Treble voices from the Boy’s Choir create an airy, ethereal vocal line characteristic of New College Oxford. The men’s voices in other ranges increase the richness of the texture throughout. Accompaniment by three organists and harpist Emma Granger leaves the hearer hoping for solo performances by any/ all of them.


Track titles are appropriately listed for ease of following the playlist, a thoughtful and thorough touch to aid the listener, adding to the appreciation of the works. The helpful booklet, written by the director, describes this collection of wide-ranging choral gems. While a fine reference, the text would be more easily read in a larger font.


Teachers, choral directors, fans of choral music, and church leaders will find this album a useful resource for classes, colleges, and choirs to add variety and skill to their study and experience.

Submitted on 07/03/13 by musichathcharms 
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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : Hymn to St Cecilia, Op. 27
  • Performers: Guy Cutting (Treble); Duncan Saunderson (Countertenor)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Ensemble: Choir of New College Oxford
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (2012-04-16_2012-04-20&2012-)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1942

>Britten, Benjamin : A Wedding Anthem, for soprano, tenor, chorus & organ, Op. 46
  • Performers: Nick Pritchard; Lawrence Thain (Organ)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (07/18/2011-07/20/2011)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 43 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1949

>Britten, Benjamin : The Company of Heaven :: Whoso dwelleth
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (2012-04-16_2012-04-20&2012-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1937

>Britten, Benjamin : Te Deum in C major
  • Performer: Lawrence Thain (Organ)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (07/18/2011-07/20/2011)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1934

>Britten, Benjamin : Jubilate Deo, for chorus & organ in E flat major
  • Performer: Steven Grahl (Organ)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (2012-04-16_2012-04-20&2012-)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1934

>Britten, Benjamin : Hymn to St Peter, Op. 56a
  • Performer: Lawrence Thain (Organ)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (07/18/2011-07/20/2011)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955

>Britten, Benjamin : A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28
  • Performer: Emma Grainger (Harp)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (2012-04-16_2012-04-20&2012-)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1942

>Britten, Benjamin : Rejoice in the Lamb, festival cantata for trumpet, ATB soloists, chorus & organ, Op. 30
  • Performers: Nick Pritchard; James Geidt (Treble); Steven Grahl (Organ)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (07/18/2011-07/20/2011)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1943

>Britten, Benjamin : Festival Te Deum in E major, Op. 32
  • Performer: Steven Grahl (Organ)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (2012-04-16_2012-04-20&2012-)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1944

>Britten, Benjamin : Venite exultemus Domino, psalm for chorus & organ in C major
  • Performer: Benjamin Bloor (Organ)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (2012-04-16_2012-04-20&2012-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1961

>Britten, Benjamin : Jubilate Deo
  • Performer: Steven Grahl (Organ)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (07/18/2011-07/20/2011)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1961

>Britten, Benjamin : Hymn to the Virgin
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (2012-04-16_2012-04-20&2012-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1930

>Britten, Benjamin : Missa Brevis, for boys' chorus & organ in D major, Op. 63
  • Performer: Steven Grahl (Organ)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (07/18/2011-07/20/2011)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1959

>Britten, Benjamin : A Hymn of Saint Columba
  • Performer: Steven Grahl (Organ)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (07/18/2011-07/20/2011)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1962

>Britten, Benjamin : A.M.D.G. :: Prayer 1
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (2012-04-16_2012-04-20&2012-)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1937

>Britten, Benjamin : A.M.D.G. :: Prayer 2
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (2012-04-16_2012-04-20&2012-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1937

>Britten, Benjamin : Antiphon, Op. 56b
  • Performer: Steven Grahl (Organ)
  • Conductor: Edward Higginbottom
  • Notes: Chapel of New College Oxford (2012-04-16_2012-04-20&2012-)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1956