A REISSUE OF A 1980 GARDINER RECORDING THAT INCLUDES A WONDERFUL LINE-UP OF SINGERS (AS WELL QUALITY BRITISH COMPOSERS) WHO PERFORM WITH MUCH ENERGY AND ENTHUSIASM THEIR ANGLICAN MUSIC! The Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque soloists are present as well as the great master, himself, John Eliot Gardiner!
In Restoration England the term "Chapel Royal" applied both to the several buildings that were used as chapels for the royal household and to the clerical and musical establishment serving them. In days when public concerts were still a comparative novelty, the royal chapels were regarded as places where one could hear good music performed by 'the best Voices and Hands in Town'.
Thomas Tudway, one of the Chapel Royal choristers referred in his writings (at that time)to the great encouragement and support by Charles II. He personally rallied behind such budding young composers such as Pelham Humfrey, John Blow and Henry Purcell. Of the composers represented on this CD only the oldest of them, Matthew Locke, held no official position at the Chapel Royal, though for a while he was put in charge of the royal band.
Therefore, it follows that the verse anthems subsequently written for the Chapel Royal by Humfrey , Blow, and Purcell show that their style, far from being frivolous, was capable of dignity and restraint. Indeed, that it inclined more to what later Purcell called "the 'gravity' of the Italian models than to the 'levity and balladry' of French instrument styles, and involved no radical break with English music of the past".
(You can say that again, Henry!)
One has only to listen to the renditions on this recording to hear how much the British composers loved their country; not that this music is anyway nationalistic, but that it includes all of the excellent musical traits that were being developed and some that had been in existence for a long time, that we as listeners have also heard through the years from many many many fine British Choirs. The singers seem to display their own personal English heritage in their very enthusiastic renditions, both by the choir and the soloists.
I personally have enjoyed this disc for a very long time, and never get weary of hearing this music. This, of course, was one of the first recordings by Gardiner, and I thank Providence that he kept on going!
I felt no need to list any of the selctions. Everything is included in the information with the disc.