Sunday, July 25, 2010

England, My England

When I was ordering A Year at King's I noticed another CD from King’s College that I, somehow, didn't own so I sent for it, too. This one is a 2009 release called England, My England and it's a 2 CD set that is sort of like a greatest hits album. It sounds a lot different from the other one. Unlike the a capella singing in A Year at King's most of the pieces here are backed up with some great organ music or by the New Philharmonia Orchestra or by the Band of the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. Although, there are still some that are voices only.

Each CD has 20 recordings (9 are listed as new) for a total of more than 2 ½ hours of beauty. It starts and ends with coronation music: Zadoc the Priest (Handel) and I Was Glad (Parry). Did you know that those two pieces have been sung at every coronation since their premiers?

This is from the liner notes: “In between are motets ancient and modern - from the miniature If Ye Love Me and the architectural splendour of the 40-part Spem in Alium to William Harris’s dramatic double-choir Spenser setting Faire is the Heaven; well-known psalms sung to Anglican chant; and favourite hymns, notably All People That on Earth Do Dwell, arranged ceremonially for another coronation, that of Elizabeth II.”

There are familiar and popular pieces like Ave Verum Corpus (Byrd), When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (Rutter), Magnificat in G (Stanford) and the Hallelujah Chorus (Handel).

I was particularly taken with Requiem-Requiem Aeternum (Rutter). It’s really a wonderful piece. I think I’ve listened to it over a dozen times.

I often wonder if it's just me or does everyone experience this, where the first version that I hear, and like, of a particular song becomes my favorite, and, no matter how many other versions I hear, that first one will remain my favorite and the one I judge the others by. Abide With Me, I Vow to Thee My Country and Jerusalem are really good on this CD but I think I prefer Libera’s version of them. Of course, I may be a little prejudiced.

Anyway, great CD, great choir. I wish they would come to my neck of the woods. Maybe if I write to Dolly Parton she could invite them to Dollywood. It’s just up the road a piece. Hey, it could happen. I can just imagine Sir David Willcocks enjoying a funnel cake.


  1. Hi Larry,

    At last, I've had a CD (well two, because I've also had A Year at Kings for a while) before you!

    Whilst there are some great tracks I think I prefer the other with a capella singing (I don't mind the tracks where there is an organ) but overall I find the sound of EME a bit, well, dull.

    Take care,


  2. Andy, hey. Yeah, the tracks on A Year At King's were definitely more complex and meditative. I liked it a lot.

    I hope you are well and having a great summer.