King's College Choir of Cambridge

England, My England

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AllMusic Review by

Close your eyes and think of England; it's easy to do with this generous two-disc compilation of recordings showcasing the classic English choral sound of the Choir of King's College, Cambridge. The selections range from the Renaissance to the present day, with a predominance of sacred music and pieces associated with English ceremony; the disc opens and closes with coronation pieces for George II (Handel's Zadok the Priest) and Edward VII (Parry's I was glad), respectively. Noteworthy is the inclusion of pieces by John Tavener (Song for Athene) and John Rutter (the Pie Jesu from the Requiem). Both these works have been associated with tragedies: the funeral of Princess Diana in the former case and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and July 7, 2005, in the latter, and it looks as though they've earned their places in the great British tradition. The best news is that this collection, unlike so many others consisting of recycled recordings, hangs together nicely. The Parry features not the Choir of King's College, but another group, the Cambridge University Musical Society Chorus. The recording dates range from the late '60s until the late 2000s decade. And there's a great variety of themes, soloists, and performing forces. Despite all this, and perhaps because the engineering of such music has traditions of its own, you never feel like you're listening to a collection of tracks thrown together; the music is intelligently sequenced and carefully remastered. Recommended for anyone who wants to luxuriate in a bit of British grandeur.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
5:20
2
3:22
3
2:51
4
7:38
5
2:13
Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56
6
4:22
Requiem for chorus & orchestra
7
3:34
8
3:41
9
1:58
10
5:27
11
4:32
12
3:31
13
3:10
14
3:19
15
2:53
Come ye sons of art away (Birthday ode for Queen Mary), for soloists, chorus & instruments, Z. 323
16
1:49
17
5:09
18
2:07
19
5:01
20
5:00

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:58
Requiem for chorus & orchestra
2
5:36
3
2:31
4
6:35
5
4:52
Evening Service (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis) in G major, Op. 81
6
4:13
7
2:26
8
3:02
9
3:20
10
3:38
Mass for soloists & chorus in G minor
11
3:55
12
5:59
13
2:27
14
3:55
15
2:25
16
1:19
To be sung of a summer night on the water, songs (2) for chorus, RT iv/5
17
2:12
18
1:47
19
4:38
20
6:47
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