Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
Beautiful choral music from Britten
on 3 November 2012
Some of Benjamin Britten's music is quite challenging to the innocent ear - like the operas for example. But here we have a quite delightful CD of choral music, all of which is immediately accessible to provide enjoyment for anyone unfamiliar with Britten's musical idiom. The longest work is the Ceremony of Carols, composed in 1942 - a collection of nine medieval or Renaissance carols. There is a Procession at the start, a Recession at the end, and a lovely all-too-short interlude for solo harp. Britten was born on St. Cecilia's Day, 22 November, in 1913, so the Hymn to St. Cecilia must have had special significance for him. Rejoice in the Lamb is a short Festival Cantata that was commissioned in 1943 for the consecration of St. Matthew's Church in Northampton, England, by their music-loving vicar, Walter Hussey. Hussey subsequently became Dean of Chichester Cathedral and had a hand in commissioning Bernstein's Chichester Psalms.
There are three more short works on the CD: the Te Deum in C, Jubilate Deo for organ, and the Missa Brevis in D, dedicated to George Malcolm after Britten heard a performance of his Ceremony of Carols under Malcolm's direction. The choir on this CD is that of King's College, Cambridge, directed by David Willcocks or Philip Ledger. An inspirational and joyous 70 min of music.