William Hayes, an organist and a professor of music at Oxford, has been neglected among Handel's successors, and this fine release by the Choir of Keble College, Oxford and the historical-performance group Instruments of Time and Truth under Matthew Martin strongly suggests that the omission has been a major one. Hayes, 23 years younger, was clearly a follower of Handel and conducted his works on a number of occasions. A few of the anthems here reflect Handel's style, yet most of them look either forward or backward: there are aspects of the mid-century Italian and Viennese styles, and strong reminiscences of Purcell, the polyphony of the early 17th century, and even earlier Renaissance music. Hayes was clearly a talented organist, and you could sample the Organ Concerto in G major, an assured, elegant work even though Hayes did not have many models to work with. The English anthems and psalm settings are clear and attractive, whether Handelian or lighter and more galant in style. Most intriguing are the imposing excerpts from the oratorio The Fall of Jericho, which strongly suggest that this work needs a full performance pronto. Handelians and lovers of English music should not delay in hearing this, for it's going to rewrite some history books: Hayes was known not only in Oxford but across England, for several decades. A Voluntary by the Oxford organist and composer William Walond, even less known than Hayes, is included. The youthful choristers enunciate the texts clearly and seem to reflect the music's freshness, in its own time and ours.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Organ Concerto in G|
|Voluntary in G|
|The Fall of Jericho|