Top positive review
71 people found this helpful
A most incredible, beautiful, and moving recording
on 3 March 2002
I first became aware of Hodie when I performed the work in high school. While it is true that Vaughn-Williams does use a variety of styles, this is much more than a compendium of musical approaches. Each style is well chosen to provide an appropriate context for the words in a way matched by few composers - intimate in "The Oxen", hushed and reverential in "No sad thought his soul affright", and imposing and even majesterial in "The March of the Three Kings". I can't imagine how anyone could listen to the Epilogue (especially as performed here) with it's quoting of the beginning of St. John's gospel without being utterly moved.
Because of the beauty of the work (only a critic would give it "bad press") and the quality of the performance, it quickly became one of my most beloved recordings, defining for me how this work should be performed just as Karl Richter's Mass in b Minor and Colin Davis's Mozart Requiem have. The singers all have incredibly beautiful voices and each use their voice very sensitively. Just listen to John Shirley-Quirk's simple yet eloquent singing in "The Oxen", describing the animals in the manger on their knees or Janet Baker's "Lullaby" with a beauty that can bring tears to your eyes. Richard Lewis likewise provides a good range from the heroic to the sensitive - one of the best performances of his I have heard. The choral work is likewise fantastic. I have been searching for this work on CD for years to replace my well-loved but somewhat worn-out LP copy and am delighted that it is finally available. If you love choral music, Vaughn-Williams's work, or just appreciate beautiful singing, I would strongly urge you to purchase this recording while it is still available.