This is an enormously valuable collection of Anthems by Sir William Henry Harris, particularly because it includes three previously unrecorded items, of which two, 'The night is come' and 'The shepherd-men', are especially striking and welcome. Harris was such a long lived composer (he died in 1973 aged 90) that his life and work spans that hugely important period of English choral music from the late Victorian romantics (Elgar and Sullivan) up to the era of the often ascerbic mid and late 20th century composers and including the period of the major works of most of the great English composers. His own music shows influences from all these periods and styles of writing but always retains that timeless quality of the greatest English church choral music and is never unapproachable. He clearly embraced and incorporated the dissonances of 20th century writing but he uses them to great effect and they are never gratuitous or unappealing. He was evidently a composer who valued the texts, using the works of great writers for his anthems' words and setting them with great skill and appreciation of meaning.
This recording does Harris full justice and will be a vital addition to the collection of anyone who loves English church music. The performers are from St. George's Chapel, Windsor where Harris spent his longest period as organist and choir master. The choir gives very good performances but they are not quite up to the perfection one would expect from the great Oxford and Cambridge choirs. There are occasional lapses of tuning and one or two of the soloists are somewhat unsteady. This is why I have given four stars not five, but this is still a very good and immensely enjoyable set of performances.