King's College Choir of Cambridge

I Was Glad

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The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, was founded by King Henry VI in 1441. It still provides music for daily chapel services as it did then, and the range of music the choir performs has influenced a great many other composers and musicians. Sixteen strong, the choir is the very exemplar of the English cathedral style, and arguably, the merging of Renaissance polyphony, Romantic choral music, and British music of the early 20th century (now augmented by John Tavener and the like) into a single unit is primarily the work of this choir and its directors. This release by the Australian label ABC Classics is a compilation of selections by the choir recorded between 1960 and 1998. The time range brings quite a few different sonic results, and a few of the earliest recordings might have been lopped off with general improvement to the whole. But in general the listener will be impressed with the choir's consistency over the years, and it's good to see that the compilation has been released beyond Australia: it's a reasonable introduction to what this remarkably durable musical institution does well. The opening lines of Franck's Panis angelicus might have been written for them, and the youthful choristers manage the dense textures of Palestrina probably better than anyone else their age. Recommended to anyone looking to begin with this famous English choir.

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