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This latest release from King’s features two major choral works from the last century linked by the common theme of peace. While Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms is given in the composer’s authorised version for organ, harp and percussion, Vaughan Williams’s Dona nobis pacem is here recorded in a new instrumentation for small orchestra by Jonathan Rathbone, which will soon to be available from OUP. Rathbone’s version is to be welcomed: it re-imagines RVW’s original orchestration, making this powerful piece within the reach of all kinds of smaller vocal ensembles. Stephen Cleobury’s King’s forces, ably matched by the ever-reliable Britten Sinfonia, give of their very best, though occasionally one hankers for the bigger, mixed- voice choral sound that the composer originally had in mind. Both soloists are superb, with Roderick Williams’s bright tone and exemplary diction especially to be admired. The Bernstein receives a lively, precise reading in which the newly restored chapel organ is heard to particularly fine effect. A special shout out should be made for 11-year-old George Hill, who sings the treble solo so beautifully. The digital download includes an extra track – Stephen Paulus’s The Road Home – though it could easily have been included on the rather short CD itself. The accompanying booklet is of as high a standard as the recorded music, and includes a fascinating essay by Edward Allen and documentation about Rathbone’s orchestration of the RVW.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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