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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Choral and Sacred music miniatures
The disc comprise 14 tracks all created by British composers between the later part of the 19th century and the end of the 20th. Consequently they represent the continuity and evolution of British church music from Victorian times to the second Elizabethan age.

The composers are not characterized by their modernity but rather by their musical invention and...
Published on 11 Jun 2009 by Serghiou Const

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An uneven selection, blandly sung
One day they'll release a Collected Edition of the Sixteen's recordings, available for mp3 download (2 days on an ordinary broadband collection) and on CD (collection only, small truck required), and there will be some gems in it. However, this recording of English church music from the 19th and 20th centuries won't be counted as one of them. Yes, there are some lovely...
Published on 1 Jun 2011 by William Burn


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An uneven selection, blandly sung, 1 Jun 2011
By 
William Burn "gingerburn" (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A New Heaven (Audio CD)
One day they'll release a Collected Edition of the Sixteen's recordings, available for mp3 download (2 days on an ordinary broadband collection) and on CD (collection only, small truck required), and there will be some gems in it. However, this recording of English church music from the 19th and 20th centuries won't be counted as one of them. Yes, there are some lovely pieces here and yes, if you enjoyed Will and Kate's wedding then you can relive her walking up the aisle to Parry's 'I was glad' (keep the commemorative biscuit tin handy), but there are some questionable selections, and the sound is as lifeless as it is 'luminous'.

For any fan of English choral music there is much to like here, if nothing new to enjoy. The programme kicks off with some solid evensong fare, reaches a low point with Goodall's 'The Lord is my shepherd', recovers briefly with 'My soul there is a country' and ends on the thoroughly unlikeable setting of Psalm 23 by Rutter, and all of it is as smooth as a Teflon-coated ice cube. Christophers has gone a long way to define the benchmark sound of English performances of Renaissance music as being immaculately blended, with no single voice ever protruding out of the texture, and in bringing the same sound to this repertoire, it all ends up as having the effect of very attractive wallpaper. Howells' 'Like as the heart' has no sense of longing, and 'Beati quorum' is so restrained as to drain the life from the phrases.

There are good qualities here: Robert Quinney's organ playing is excellent and beautifully registered, and some of the solo voices are very attractive. Moreover much of the music is worth listening to simply for its own merits, but I can't get over the feeling that this is a marketing exercise, intended simply to cash in on the success of the BBC series for which the Sixteen provided the soundtrack: why else would one shove a hymn tune in amongst evensong anthems if not to appeal to the Daily Mail readers who will love this disc?
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Choral and Sacred music miniatures, 11 Jun 2009
By 
Serghiou Const (Nicosia, Cyprus) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A New Heaven (Audio CD)
The disc comprise 14 tracks all created by British composers between the later part of the 19th century and the end of the 20th. Consequently they represent the continuity and evolution of British church music from Victorian times to the second Elizabethan age.

The composers are not characterized by their modernity but rather by their musical invention and high level of craftsmanship. And though most of them have not obtained international recognition still in all these pieces they were able to distil big issues of life and death into miniature form. The spirituality of all choral pieces had on me an emotional impact and uplifted my spirit. Forced to choose, I would opt for the work of of living composers namely track 8 The Lord is my Shepherd
by Howard Goodall and track 14 of the same name by John Rutter. Both the rendition of the choral pieces and quality of the sound are excellent.

In summary a beautiful recording by the Sixteen and their conductor and founder, Harry Christophers.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Different sound quality, 20 Jun 2009
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This review is from: A New Heaven (Audio CD)
Not quite as good as I expected, but maybe that's because I loved the Renaissance album and that quality of pure sound so much. These tracks are more Victorian up to the present day, and a different quality especially in the early tracks.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Very bad recording of beautiful music, 14 Sep 2014
This review is from: A New Heaven (Audio CD)
Atrocious.

If you are looking for a recording to show you how not to sing English sacred music from the 19th and 20th Centuries this is it.

The pieces included in the album are amazingly beautiful when performed right, but in this recording the Sixteen ruin them. The balance between the parts of the choir is almost never right, and the balance between choir and organ is also off. The sopranos are routinely too loud compared with the rest of the choir and organ, but this is by no means the only balance issue. In addition the level of vibrato used (particularly by the sops) is unsuited to this style of music. The album sounds like a group of highly trained professional singers who are note perfect but have no feel for or understanding of this type of music. They also sound like they have never sung together (hence some of the balance issues) - alternatively this may not be the choir's fault, if each part was recorded separately then mixed by a very bad editor.

The anthems on this album represent some of the very best choral music by English composers but if you want to listen to it there are many far better recordings available (not least collections by Kings College or St Paul's) - and I have never heard worse.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavenly, 12 Sep 2009
This review is from: A New Heaven (Audio CD)
Some of the best English choral music written of the near past + the best English choir of the moment = a stunning CD. If you don't know the music: buy it anyway and discover some wonderful pieces. If you do know the music: experience it sung to its best.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 26 Sep 2009
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This review is from: A New Heaven (Audio CD)
The Sixteen is well known as being one of the world's premier chamber choirs. On this recording, which perhaps takes them outside their more familiar repertoire areas, they turn in a succession of superlative performances. It is not just the good music in which they excel, but they even managed to make "The Lord is my shepherd" listenable, rather than the somewhat hackneyed performance heard more frequently.

For this repertoire, there is no better recording - I recommend it without hesitation.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wonderful 16 of harry christopher, 17 Jan 2010
This review is from: A New Heaven (Audio CD)
As expected a superb CD by this group with the perfect rendering of I was glad by Parry as the first piece
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro to the best of British, 30 May 2011
By 
Robert Brook (Buckinghamshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A New Heaven (Audio CD)
Anyone new to British choral music should immediately buy this disc as a great introduction.

With clean singing from The Sixteen under Harry Christophers, this disc will have you repeating tracks and listening again.

Only criticism is the recessed feeling of the organ, particularly in I was Glad.

A must have.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Heaven, 16 July 2009
This review is from: A New Heaven (Audio CD)
I had not heard The 16 before and was interested to hear them. It was a compilation that included items that I enjoyed and some that I did not know so generally a useful addition to my collection.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent compilation, 17 Nov 2011
By 
Mr. M. Keays - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A New Heaven (Audio CD)
As ever, The Sixteen come up trumps with excellent music performed sublimely and recorded with great sensitivity. A 'must have' for any lover of church music!
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