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Ian Venables: Requiem; Howells: Anthems for Choir and Orchestra
DCD34252 (Delphian Records, CD)
FIRST RELEASE (11 November 2022)
Playing time: 77'30"
Booklet pages: 24
℗ 2022 Delphian Records Ltd
© 2022 Delphian Records Ltd
Main country of recording: United Kingdom
Country of manufacture: European Union
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of Ian Venables: Requiem; Howells: Anthems for Choir and Orchestra published on 23 November 2022
Eppie Sharp, soprano (track 2)
Aine Smith, soprano (tracks 5 and 7)
LucyAnne Fletcher, soprano (track 5)
Edward Saddington, bass (track 10)
Choir of Merton College, Oxford
Oxford Contemporary Sinfonia
Benjamin Nicholas, conductor (tracks 1-12), organ (track 13)
Herbert Howells (1892-1983), orchestrated by Jonathan Clinch:
1 O pray for the peace of Jerusalem (first recording in this orchestral version)
Herbert Howells, orchestrated by Howard Eckdahl:
2 Like as the hard desireth the waterbrooks (first recording in this orchestral version)
3 The House of the Mind (first recording of the orchestral version)
Ian Venables (born 1955):
Requiem, Op 47 (first recording of the orchestral version)
4 Introit (Requiem aeternam)
7 Pie Jesu
9 Agnus Dei
10 Libera me
11 Lux aeterna
12 God be Merciful, Op 51 (first recording)
13 Rhapsody 'In memoriam Herbert Howells', Op 25 for solo organ
Conductor Benjamin Nicholas draws parallels between the familiar English choral sound of Howells and that of contemporary composer Ian Venables. Venables' Requiem has already been warmly received by critics in a 2020 recording with just organ accompaniment. Now, Nicholas and his Merton College choir present it in an orchestrated version made specially for this recording. The Howells items here are also premiere recordings: new instrumental accompaniments to two of his Four Anthems, in arrangements by Howells scholars Howard Eckdahl and Jonathan Clinch, illuminate and intensify his rich choral writing like back-lighting on a stained-glass window, and they are complemented by the first recording of Howells' original orchestration of The House of the Mind – a chance to hear one of his major underperformed works, introspective yet dramatic.
Recorded 27-29 June 2021 in the Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, UK.