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Briggs - Hail, gladdening light -

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“Various releases celebrated conductor Stephen Layton’s tenure as director of the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge as it approached its end in 2023. This one wasn’t specifically so billed, but it serves the purpose; it is an ambitious album that exposes a fine composer-organist to a larger audience and shows that Layton was far from losing interest in the choir during his later years as its head. There are several major attractions, one being the Hyperion label’s engineering work at the Church of Saint-Eustache, Paris, far from its usual British haunts. It is an acoustically imposing space, and David Briggs fills it with organ improvisations that exploit every corner of the church’s instrument. These are interspersed among Briggs’ choral compositions, which are an impressively varied group. The album takes its title from one of them, the anthem Hail, gladdening Light, which isn’t far off from the usual fare of the Choir of Trinity College, but other works, extended in tonality, seem fascinatingly akin to Briggs’ organ improvisations, and some hark back to earlier choral languages, witness Briggs’ recent Trinity College Fauxbourdon Service (2020), a Magnificat and Nunc dimittis that might be called neo-medieval. This album offers new music by an underrated composer, splendidly performed and engineered. Who could ask for anything more?”

James Manheim

Briggs - Hail, gladdening light
Hyperion Records CDA68440