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This well thought-out compilation comprises settings from the Book of Psalms. Composers range from Byrd and Palestrina through to Howells, Chilcott and Rutter. The choir is competent but for me the performances didn’t really take off until the three contrasted settings of Hear my prayer (Psalm 102). Purcell’s little gem was sung with great depth of feeling and restraint, while Mendelssohn’s ever-popular setting was possibly the best performance on the disc, with an excellent soprano soloist (unnamed). Chilcott’s take, commissioned for a specific performance, deliberately owes much to Purcell, but his five beats to a bar and persuasive use of dissonance adds much to the harmonic flavour. Rutter’s Psalm 23 with organ and obbligato oboe is a lovely tranquil setting, very effectively captured by the choir. There is much to enjoy here.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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