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I Was Glad - Sacred Music of Stanford and Parry

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Carolyn Sampson, David Wilson-Johnson, Choir of The King's Consort
  • Orchestra: The King's Consort
  • Conductor: Robert King
  • Composer: Charles Villiers Stanford, Hubert Parry
  • Audio CD (4 Feb. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Vivat
  • ASIN: B00AO3RA74
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,606 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

The King's Consort celebrate their hundredth CD and the launch of their new classical label,VIVAT,with TKC's largest recording in 15 years.Huge period instrument orchestra gathered from fifteen nations,plus TKC's award-winning choir,and world-class soloists including Carolyn Sampson and David Wilson-Johnson.TKC records the glorious sacred ceremonial music of two of Britain's greatest composers,Stanford and Parry.First recordings on period instruments,including the four great Stanford canticle settings,heard in the composer's lavish orchestrations(Stanford in G with radiant singing from Carolyn Sampson),Parry's I Was Glad(restoring a long-missing section for the 1911 coronation),a magisterial performance of Blest pair of Sirens, the 1911 Coronation Te Deum and a stunning Jerusalem in Elgar's vivid orchestration.High quality documentation,first-rate engineering,lively promo video releasing Jan 2013 on YouTube and Vivat's new website.New editions of the four Stanford works parallel-published by Oxford University Press.The first of a series of releases on TKC's new VIVAT label.

Review

The King's Consort is starting its own record label:Vivat.It's all performed on period instruments,with gut strings and wind and brass from the era. --BBC Music Magazine

The King's Consort are set to re-enter the recording catalogue with the world's first period instrument recordings of Parry's I was glad and Jerusalem,alongside other Coronation music by Parry and his colleague Charles Villiers Stanford. --Gramophone

Their new album of British choral music,launching their new classical music recording label,VIVAT. --ClassicFM.com

For the launch CD of its new label Vivat,The King's Consort have delivered an undisputed spectacular.Together with full symphony orchestra of 19th-century period instruments,and under the directorship of founder Robert King(this is also the vocal group's 100th CD recording),they tackle canticles and anthems by Stanford and Parry in their original full and lustrous symphonic versions.Suddenly,Stanford's numerous Evening Canticles are heard to their full effect radiant,Brahmsian exultations of faith,with unmistakable hints of Wagner witnessed in the thrill of the orchestral language.Parry's music is no less exhilarating from the large-scale Coronation Te Deum and famous Blest Pair of Sirens to I Was Glad and Elgar's orchestration of Jerusalem.It's a magnificent start for a potentially exciting new label.3 February 2013. --Ken Walton, The Scotsman

Those who value the Victorian/Edwardian choral tradition will relish these fine examples of it and the stirring manner in which they are performed.4 stars. --The Telegraph

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is a marvellous CD, hugely enjoyable to listen to and a very good advertisement for the two giants of British music in the generation before Elgar and Vaughan Williams.

Choral evensong was once - I forget where - compared to county cricket: it's a tradition which gamely continues the length and breadth of England, always maintaining a pretty decent standard, with occasional flashes of excellence, and it's completely ignored by all but a few diehard fans. It's a pity, really, and very little, if any, of the choral evensong repertoire has ever made it out of church and onto the concert platform. I can see why: many of the anthems are just too short to bother with as concert pieces, and often the musical material is just too thin, all ploddy organ accompaniments and heavy homophonic writing. Yet this CD, by the King's Consort, demonstrates how the music of two of the stalwarts of the English cathedral repertoire really does deserve a much wider audience. It's a generous hour and a bit of thrillingly passionate singing, accompanied not by a wheezy old windbox, but a lush orchestra replete with harp, tympani and the rest. It's great.

In terms of time the disc is dominated by Stanford's four big settings of the canticles for evensong, along with three works by Parry (yes, 'I was glad' is there, for you fans of royal weddings). Stanford may have been forgotten by pretty much everyone except church musicians, but these settings all demonstrate his considerable talent as an orchestrator, from the utterly charming Magnificat in G (with the brilliant, soaringly wonderful Carolyn Sampson as soprano soloist) to the Brahmsian splendour of the Nunc Dimittis in A.
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I heard this cd reviewed on Radio 3, heard the samples on amazon, and knew I had to buy it! To say that I am not disappointed is an understatement! I've played it many times already and it never fails to fascinate and thrill. The Stanford orchestrations are beautiful and add a new, richer dimension to my knowledge of these settings. As for the performances, they are stunningly beautiful, they feel right, they are not over the top nor exaggerated, but, put simply, they are wonderfully crafted, and the sound is one that I want to listen to over and over again. The solo singing is completely convincing, especially the soprano soloist in the Stanford in G Magnificat. I didn't hesitate when I ordered it, and I haven't regretted buying it!
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I used to sing a lot of these pieces as a young chorister, and I didn't want to listen to some awful all-male choir murdering the Magnificat. I was won over when I listened to the samples, and I'm not disappointed by the CD. Beautiful, uplifting singing conducted at just the right pace for a sleepy evensong or triumphal arrival of the bride.
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Leonard Bernstein one stated that English music was, 'too much organ voluntary in Lincoln Cathedral, too much Coronation in Westminster Abbey, too much lark ascending, too much clodhopping on the ****ing village green'. In many ways he was right, but he was also jeering at what England does best, as evinced by the King's Consort's latest disc. Featuring coronation classics by Parry and Stanford's settings of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in all their orchestral glory, this recording proves we should cherish rather than mock our musical heritage.

As with King's earlier recordings, I was Glad is performed 'on authentic instruments', bringing balmy Edwardian instrumental tones to customarily strident anthems and canticles. It's particularly in the fanfaric moments that the warmth of these 'authentic' instruments tells, where the sound is fat rather than shrill. One thing that feels a little ersatz in the lineup is the reproduction of the organ of Hereford Cathedral. Digitally importing the 'Father' Willis pipe by pipe, the recording was actually made in St Jude's on the Hill. The acoustic is therefore not authentic and the organ takes more of a back seat than it would have done in the more generous acoustic at Hereford.

The other 'period' which may rankle is the pronunciation, rendering Parry's tub-thumping 'I was Glad' as a Joyce Grenfell-esque 'I was Gled'. Yet the Choir of the King's Consort, full of familiar consort and session names, produces a suitably hefty (if sometimes wayward) sound. Flagrant vibrato sometimes dulls the tone at the top end and the diction in Jerusalem feels pedantic, but it is a wonderfully rich blend across the disc. They are joined by Carolyn Sampson and David Wilson-Johnson, providing their own vocal luster to the solos.
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I have just finished listening to this quite extraordinary new CD by Robert King and the King's Consort, and in my opinion this is the most convincing thing he has yet done. Every aspect of the production is simply superb: the performances themselves are full-blooded and yet finely nuanced; the recording is spacious and detailed, and yet powerful and thrilling in the (many) climaxes; the organ is gorgeously captured - especially the low end of the instrument - giving the overall sound impressive weight and richness; the singing and playing are basically flawless. Combine this with exceptional notes by Jeremy Dibble, complete documentation on every instrument used in the (period) orchestra, and exemplary presentation overall from this (seemingly new) label "Vivat", and this is a winner. Of course this might not mean all that much if the music itself were not worthwhile, but it seems the true quality of these two great composers is finally now beginning to be recognised. This is wonderful, inspired music, unashamed of its late Victorian roots. Its as thrilling today as I am sure it was for audiences and congregation members around the turn of the 20th century. This recording sheds new and vibrant light on an important period in English Church Music, and we are all in the debt of the many dedicated musicians who have made this project so marvelous. Bravo!
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