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on 12 July 2009
Robert King not only uses the trusted and excellent the Choir of New College, Oxford, but also uses his own Choir of the King's Consort, formed of professional male singers (mostly current or former lay clerks), and for the top line went around the country and handpicked his choristers from various choir schools, much like a 17th century Master of the Choristers at the Chapel Royal...

The result, combined with superlative instrumentalists, is utterly wonderful. The tempi are perfectly judged, the choruses are together and snappily sung, the verse sections really get to grips with Purcell's melodic and word-painting styles, but then who wouldn't after singing through the complete sacred music?! The programme notes, as usual for Hyperion, are excellent without being fussy, and the quality of recording remains exemplary.

If all you take away from this is Eamonn O'Dwyer's performance of the Evening Hymn ('Now that the sun hath veiled his light'), then you'll consider yourself blessed.
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on 20 September 2004
As a counterpart to his complete account of Purcell's Odes and Welcome Songs, this Complete Sacred Music of Henry Purcell is a crowing achievement for Hyperion and for Robert King and his Consort.
It is hard to imagine that the orchestral or ensemble playing of Purcell will ever be surpassed easily, nor the choice of soloists who, a notable King trait, seem ideal for the roles they must play. The choral sound is fresh, alive and utterly convincing.
Whether you are an admirer of Purcell, or love English church music, or whether you simply adore great singing, then this collection will have you dipping into gems from a past glorious age. Having said that, many of the items on display here have rarely been outside the Cathedral canon in England, though rarely so engagingly or stylishly presented as here.
Once you listen to any of these offerings, either singly or in the box set, then your life will me enriched and changed at the deepest level. I can offer no greater laudatory comment than that.
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on 16 January 2011
How does one describe the sublime? This collection is a great addition to anyone's collection, especially to those who enjoy the music of this exciting period in the development of English composition. There can be no doubt that Purcell was one of the greatcomposers of this period and his exploitation of tones and pitch that uses the acoustics of England's "Great Churches" has to be a part of the magic of his music. These recordings show off the music brilliantly, capturing the sound as Purcell intended it and avoiding the pitfall of so many of overpowering the delicacy of so much of it with choir, organ or orchestral accompaniment that is far too large.

The drum march from the funeral music for Queen Anne has to be one of the most haunting pieces in any collection, but it is really difficult tosingle out any one piece in this stunning compilation.

Wonderful music, beautifully performed.
0Comment10 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
These are eleven discs covering the whole of Henry Purcell's church music output, with a whole host of big name soloists, legends among British vocalists. This is as English as Shakespeare, and like the Bard, Purcell's music is a part of this island's cultural output which should be on every Englishman's shelf. It's truly an indispensable collection.

Packaged in a hinged cardboard box, the eleven discs comes in cardboard sleeves along with an excellent booklet providing full sung texts plus several paragraphs of musical notes on each piece by conductor Robert King, and indexes by disc and by name.

See also the other Purcell boxed sets by Robert King & the King's Consort - Purcell: The Complete Odes and Welcome Songs, and The Complete Secular Solo Songs of Henry Purcell.
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There are already several very good reviews here, but I will just add my voice to the chorus of praise for this magnificent set. Purcell's sacred music is stunning and deeply affecting, and the King's Consort do it proud.

These recordings bring out all the musical brilliance and spiritual depth of Purcell's work. There is a starry cast of performers who all plainly love this music and give it everything. Many of these recordings are my favourite versions of the pieces. This isn't universally true, of course - in such a huge set that would be very surprising - but many are. Even those which aren't (like An Evening Hymn, for example, which I prefer in two treasured versions by Michael Chance Purcell: Sacred Music / Dioclesian, Songs and Carolyn Sampson Purcell: Victorious Love) are still very good and there is nothing on any of the 11 discs in this box which I found disappointing.

The recording quality is excellent as is the presentation in a robust cardboard box and sleeves with a very good, substantial booklet of notes and texts of the works. This is a significant investment, but it is a set to last a lifetime, full of well-loved masterpieces and also little-known gems. It has given me immense pleasure for years and will continue to do so for years to come. Very warmly recommended.
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on 28 December 2010
This is a wonderful set of CDs of sacred music by Purcell. Before I bought this set of CDs , I was very hesitant, regarding the amount of choral music there was. wasn't there needed some instrumental interludes ? I need'nt have worried, the music was and is so enjoyable , and nothing sagged. Disc after disc was and is a pleasure to play and listen to.The performances are hard to match and the recordings supream. I would not hesitate to obtain this box set, the listener will not be disappointed.
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