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Friday, March 1, 2013

Benjamin Britten, The Sacred Choral Music, Choir of New College Oxford, Edward Higginbottom

Benjamin Britten on his 100th Centennial year, as one might have supposed, is receiving a goodly number of performances and recorded releases. Britten's choral writing was some of the most appealing and original that the past century had to offer. We are fortunate that for the occasion the impeccable Choir of New College Oxford under Edward Higgenbottom have recorded an encompassing 2-CD set of his Sacred Choral Music (Novum 1386).

There are gems to be heard here in definitive contemporary versions: the "Hymn to St. Cecilia," the "Te Deum in C," "A Ceremony of Carols," "Rejoice in the Lamb," the "Missa Brevis," and other works besides.

Britten of all composers in his day managed to inject life into sacred choral form while keeping just enough tradition in the music that there was continuity.

This is glorious music, performed with conviction and style, in first-rate sound. It's a great way to celebrate Britten's 100th!

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