HIGH RESOLUTION AUDIO A GRAMOPHONE GUIDE
Paul McCreesh and his massed Gabrieli Consort stage a magni icent reconstruction of a 20th-century English Coronation wire brilliant. The tunes are, of course, delicious≈and after one hearing I can’t get the refrain from the Les bavards number out of my head. Personally, because I am a sucker for ballads, my favourites are Elsbeth’s Romance from Fantasio (recently revived in the UK) – one to revisit again and again (a number sitting squarely in the domain of the fully fledged lyric soprano) – and the ‘Romance des fleurs’ from Le roi Carotte, whose vocal line beguiles and charms every which way.
The two big ‘hits’ from Les contes d’Hoffmann are included, of course. I could have done without yet another Barcarolle (Devos joined here by mezzo Adèle Charvet) but hearing Devos dispatch Olympia’s corker of a showstopper – this doll never needs rewinding (or new batteries) – will likely leave a smile on your face for the rest of the day. Edward Seckerson
Andrew Everard writes An exuberant set on Alpha, well served by the 96kHz/24bit Qobuz download; the Münchner Rundfunkorchester is on sparkling form under Laurent Campellone, and is given space to breathe and shine without dominating the soloist. And oh, how the voice soars and scintillates in the wide-open ambience of this recording, with thrilling expression and colour – of course! – and not a hint of compression. The programme is exciting enough in CD resolution, but tingles even more in high resolution.
‘An English Coronation 1902 1953’ Bullock Come, Holy Ghost Byrd I will not leave you comfortless Croft O God, our help in ages past Elgar Coronation March, Op 65. O hearken thou, Op 64. Pomp and Circumstance March, Op 39 No 1 Gibbons O clap your hands together Handel Zadok the Priest, HWV258 Howells The King’s Herald Luther Rejoice today with one accord (arr JS Bach) D Matthews Recessional and National Anthem Merbecke The Lord’s Prayer Parratt Confortare: Be strong and play the man Parry Chorale Fantasia on ‘O God, our help’. I was glad Purcell Hear my prayer, Z15 Redford Rejoice in the Lord alway Stanford ‘Coronation’ Gloria Tallis Litany Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor – Credo; Sanctus. The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune. O taste and see Walton Coronation Te Deum. Crown Imperial SS Wesley Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace C Wood O most merciful Simon Russell Beale spkr Gabrieli Roar; Gabrieli Consort & Players / Paul McCreesh Signum F (two discs for the price of one) SIGCD569 (159’ • DDD • T)
On his tireless voyage of ceremonial and liturgical reconstruction,
Paul McCreesh’s 20th-century coronation anthology is arguably his most ambitious and intricate to date. If the various Mass,
coronation and Vespers projects from the Gabrielis over the past 30 years have displayed the full gamut of prevailing instrumental and vocal genres from a single occasion (for instance, Doge Grimani’s investiture in 1595), the best music from four recent English coronations – 1902, 1911, 1937 and 1953 – is selected here in a procession from the assemblage of protagonists to the recession into the streets. In between, we witness oaths, anointing and communion, adorned by an exhilaratingly varied diet of professional and amateur choral and instrumental groups.
On a conceptual level, McCreesh is not so much reconstructing as celebrating the unique cultural ritual of pageantry described by the historian Roy Strong as a ‘marriage of tradition and innovation’. And how comfortably the golden-age greats of Tallis, Byrd and Gibbons reside here in the bosom of their respectful modern-day counterparts who provided the commissions: Wood, Elgar, Howells, Walton and a splendid new recessional by David Matthews. As each coronation is meticulously documented, decisions are built on firm historical foundations without the black holes of earlier Renaissance and Baroque forays which require a necessarily speculative imagination. Well-articulated insights into the rich theatrical dimension of this quartet of coronations work best in the large works, all of which sound spectacular in the ringing acoustic, and whose atmosphere is enhanced
P H O T O G R A P H Y
P H O T O G R A P H Y
12 GRAMOPHONE JULY 2019 | gramophone.co.uk
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