Harry Christophers / The Sixteen

I Was Glad

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I Was Glad, an album featuring Harry Christophers and the Sixteen, includes a selection of harmonically luxuriant post-Romantic anthems characteristic of the tradition of English cathedral choirs, along with several contemporary pieces that fit nicely into the same style. Hubert Parry's grand, eloquent Jerusalem is probably the most familiar of these works, and it exemplifies the style in the mind of many listeners. Fans of choral music of this era should be delighted in the well-chosen selection and the warm, sumptuous blend and effortless-sounding precision of the Sixteen. These are pieces that can be subject to Romantically indulgent interpretations, but Christophers emphasizes the music's restraint and purity while giving it plenty of room for expressive freedom. The singing is absolutely clear and there is remarkable unanimity in the choir's vowels and articulation. The way the ends of the phrases drop self-effacingly in Howard Goodall's gorgeous The Lord Is my Shepherd is interpretively ideal and beautifully executed. Most of the anthems are a cappella, but several are very capably accompanied by organist Robert Quinney. Elin Manahan Thomas is the flawlessly pure soprano soloists on several tracks. Decca surrounds the voices with a honeyed resonance, but the sound is at the same time clean and detailed.

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