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Howells - Requiem - Choir and Organ

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This is a fine programme for Howells fans, eschewing the ‘Coll. Reg.’ canticles and the organ works, and including the lesser-heard Salve Regina and the Hymn for St Cecilia as well as the ‘Gloucester’ canticles. The Requiem itself, like the other unaccompanied pieces here, is recorded in the gorgeous reverberation of the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral. Those works with organ are done at Lincoln Cathedral – so anyone expecting the cut-glass sounds of Trinity Chapel or its Metzler organ will be surprised. As for the singing, Layton elicits a gentleness of tone from sopranos which casts such muscular writing as found in Take him, earth, for cherishing in a new, mature light. It is slightly odd to hear two different acoustics here, but none the worse for that.

Matthew Power

Howells - Requiem
Hyperion Records CDA67914