This is intensely moving and profoundly beautiful music. Don’t be surprised if you are moved to tears upon first hearing this album. The Choir of King’s College are definitely one of the jewels in England’s crown and this album showcases their talents beautifully. You can almost imagine you are there in King’s College Chapel listening to them, as their voices invoke images of serenity and peace in a church or cathedral setting.
This essential English collection opens and closes with coronation music. “Zadok the Priest” was written for the crowning of George II in 1727, whilst “I was glad” was composed for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902, and they have both been sung at coronation ceremonies ever since. Listeners will recognize many of the pieces on the album, partly due to their association with key English history events. John Ireland’s “Greater love hath no man” is often heard on Remembrance Sunday. Sir John Tavener’s “Song for Athene” made a powerful impression at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales; whilst John Rutter’s small-scale, personal “Requiem” touched a wider public following the attacks of 11 September 2001. Queen Mary’s 1694 birthday ode, “Come ye sons of art away”, composed by Purcell, together with the music he wrote for her funeral nine months later, “Thou knowest Lord” is also featured. Many favourite hymns and well known psalms sung to Anglican chant, feature on the album, sandwiched amongst both ancient and modern motets. In addition the album features a choral version of “Nimrod”, “Lux aeterna” composed by Edward Elgar, which epitomizes the music of national remembrance.
All in all listening to this album is an intensely beautiful and very moving musical experience. I can thoroughly recommend it.