The unifying theme behind this album is clear from its title; these are pieces that have been used in services at a variety of turning points in the lives of the British monarchy during the lifetime of Elizabeth II, including mostly weddings, but also her coronation and wedding anniversary, and the funerals of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother. It's an apt tribute in 2013, the year of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of her coronation. The album offers just what would be expected of the Cambridge Singers, led by John Rutter: expert, sensitive performances of serene, comforting anthems. Even the most astringent selections, several of Britten's "Choral Dances" from Gloriana, should still fall within most listeners' comfort zone. The choir sings with its characteristic warmth, velvety legato phrasing, and technical precision. Elin Manahan Thomas brings a light, chaste soprano to two arias, Mozart's "Laudate Dominum," and Handel's "Let the bright seraphim." The repertoire is weighted toward 20th and 21st century British works, including pieces by Elgar, Walton, Britten, H. Walford Davies, Richard Rodney Bennett, William Harris, William McKie, John Tavener, Paul Mealor, and Rutter himself. Other eras and nationalities aren't neglected, though, and there are pieces by Brahms, Mozart, Schubert, and Duruflé. The album should appeal especially to listeners looking for lovely choral performances of mellow, lush, euphonious, sometimes ecstatic repertoire.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
|Vesperae solennes de confessore, K 339|
|Ein deutsches Requiem|
|Choral Dances from Gloriana|