Angel is a collection of sacred vocal and choral pieces by Patrick Hawes, a British composer noted for his work in film and concert music. This album is his first recording for Decca, and it is a personal testament to his avowed Christian faith and his belief in the presence of angels in his life. All the works are original compositions, and in many cases, they are settings of texts by Andrew Hawes, the composer's brother. Because of the album's openly religious content, which at times verges on religiosity, it appears to be aimed primarily at a Christian audience that favors calm and accessible tonal or modal music with an unabashed sentimental tone. With one exception, Hawes' pieces are slow, soft, and serene, designed to inspire meditative moods. The only dramatic contrast is the minor-key opening of the Archangel Suite, a vaguely martial prayer to the archangel Michael. Otherwise, the atmosphere of the album is consistent, due to the seraphic voice of soprano Grace Davidson; the pure blend of Choir of New College, Oxford, under the direction of Edward Higginbottom; and the delicate sonorities of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the composer.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson