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What a stroke of genius to release this recording when our country seems to be tearing itself into shreds at the behest of those who should know better. It’s a timely reminder that we still have some things we are superb at, namely, big, festive occasions; the coronation rite is one of them. Between 1902 and 1953 four coronations took place: Edward VII, George V, George VI and Elizabeth II. With expert assistance, Paul McCreesh has magnificently recreated this unique coronation rite. Featuring music from across the centuries by Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, Purcell, Handel, Wesley, Elgar, Parry, Stanford, Vaughan Williams, Howells and Walton, this release includes an interesting booklet explaining the service in great detail. You only have to close your eyes and you are there. It was recorded in Ely Cathedral, with meticulous care taken to construct an orchestra of rare 20th-century instruments to accompany an extended Gabrieli Consort and several hundred young singers from the Gabrielis’ choral training programme, Gabrieli Roar, providing them with a unique and unforgettable experience. Truly heart-warming; thank heaven for the creative musicians of this world.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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