David Hill


David Hill

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Judith Weir: Storm

Judith Weir: Storm


All the Ends of the Earth

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (2011)

Missa del Cid

The Song Sung True


BBC Singers, Choristers of Temple Church & Endymion, David Hill

The BBC Singers continue their critically lauded and award-nominated series of composer-led recordings with a new disc of works by Master of the Queen's Music Judith Weir.

Recorded in the unique acoustic of the Temple Church, London, the BBC Singers are joined by the church's choristers and the contemporary music ensemble Endymion, in a retrospective of Weir's works drawn from a 25-year period.

“We start in the cathedral, with the densely spiralling alleluias of Weir’s mesmerisingly beautiful millennium anthem, All the Ends of the Earth. The simpler textures of her Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis occasionally find the choir sounding harsh up high, but theirs is a vibrant sound, never bland.” The Guardian, 30th April 2015 ****

“tasteful, spirited and affectionate.” Sunday Telegraph, 14th June 2015

“This invigorating selection of Judith Weir’s choral music is nothing if not varied.” Irish Times, 12th June 2015

“The performances are as expert as you would expect, with the BBC Singers under their very experienced choral director David Hill … A lovely disc.” MusicWeb International, 30th June 2015

“a gorgeous, rounded sound … it works very well indeed.” CD Review, 27th June 2015

“Vocal - particularly choral - music has been a strong and persistent thread through Judith Weir's output from the start and this collection brings together works from a 25-year period…clarity of thought and texture is apparent in the concise setting of the unaccompanied Magnificat and Nunc dimittis…the high quality [of these interpretations] bode well.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2015

“This CD…is to be welcomed not only for the excellence of the execution of the music but also for the opportunity it affords to sample what is, in effect, a major retrospective of Weir’s choral output from a 25-year period … David Hill presides over this important release to the manner born. A significant addition to the too-small Weir discography.” Choir & Organ, September-October 2015

“The bright, jangling soundworld of Judith Weir's All the Ends of the Earth immediately cleanses the aural palate...the BBC Singers bring their customary high standards of versatility and exectuion to the table.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2015 ****

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Signum - SIGCD421


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Howells: Stabat Mater

Howells: Stabat Mater


Te Deum

Benjamin Hulett (tenor)

Sine Nomine, Op. 37

Alison Hill (soprano)

Stabat Mater

Benjamin Hulett (tenor)

The three works on this recording mark staging posts in Herbert Howells’s compositional life. Sine nomine was commissioned at Elgar’s instigation when Howells was 30 and is predominantly orchestral, with wordless parts for the two vocal soloists. This arch-like ‘spiritual meditation’ was his first extended work for larger forces. Like the Hymnus paradisi (Naxos 8570352), the Stabat Mater is a direct musical reponse to the death of the composer’s nine year-old son, and further reveals his mastery of choral and orchestral polyphony. The Te Deum signalled a fresh and new approach to settings of Anglican canticles.

“Though there is much emotional turbulence in this music, Hill maintains a compelling life and forward momentum in Howells's immensely contrapuntal score...The Bach Choir has a palpable vibrancy in its range and layers of dynamics which are complemented by the extensive and highly sensitive palette of Howells's orchestra...and the incisive solo tenor role of Benjamin Hulett.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2014

“The choral singing is superb...Hulett is quite wonderful to hear: lyrical, natural, unforced, never strained as he rises affectingly above the orchestra...the whole team of singers and instrumentalists respond with the utmost fervour. to Hill's evidently inspiring leadership. This is a triumph for all concerned.” International Record Review, December 2014

“This is a mandatory purchase for all who love the music of Herbert Howells and even if you have the Rozhdestvensky recording of Stabat Mater you won’t regret the duplication.” MusicWeb International, November 2014

“He wrote [the Stabat Mater] for the Bach Choir, and their descendants respond thrillingly to every facet, its bleak anguish and its grave beauty. Hill paces superbly, and Hulett is utterly convincing in taxing solo passages.” Classical Music *****

Presto Discs of 2014


GGramophone Awards 2015

Finalist - Choral

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2014

Naxos - 8573176



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David Matthews: Symphony No. 7 & Vespers

David Matthews: Symphony No. 7 & Vespers

Matthews, D:

Vespers, Op. 66 for mezzo-soprano and tenor soli, SATB chorus and orchestra

Katie Bray (mezzo-soprano) & Matthew Long (tenor)

The Bach Choir, David Hill

Symphony No. 7, Op. 109

John Carewe

World premiere recordings, recorded at Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset, 19 July 2011 [Symphony] & 27-28 July 2013 [Vespers]

Unlike many contemporary composers, David Matthews has been much concerned with working in the great, inherited forms of the past – symphony, string quartet, oratorio – and finding new ways of renewing them. In a similar spirit, he has never shied away from tonality, from a musical language that is clear and direct, and from a joyous spirit of dance; “If only music could dance once again!” he reflected upon listening to Monteverdi’s Vespers. This is the work that inspired his own Vespers, a grand oratorio masterfully combining a sense of solemnity and exhilaration, and which makes an important addition to the great tradition of amateur choral music. The same feeling of boisterous energy is felt in Matthews’ seventh, and most recent, symphony. Once again, Matthews is unafraid of connections with great composers of the past and the model of Sibelius’s Seventh Symphony – a one-movement work that subtly transitions from slow to fast and back again – provides a template from which Matthews creates a piece of exquisitely scored beauty and richness.

“Non-doctrinal yet celebrating the religious sense as such, this is a work both of great beauty and genuine spiritual force...I was moved and rather awed by the mastery of large forces to such humane, celebratory goals...Blazingly committed performances do full justice to, yes, one of our greatest living composers.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2014 *****

“magnificent singing from the Bach Choir, with David Hill securing a powerful response from the Bournemouth Symphony...This is an important addition to Matthew's ever-increasing discography.” International Record Review, March 2014

“This world-premiere recording, which came out earlier in the summer, confirms David Matthews(b.1943) as a natural composer for voices – here, the full-bodied, occasionally untamed Bach Choir – as well as a richly gifted orchestral colourist happy to find invention in tonality and tradition.” The Observer, 24th August 2014 ***

Dutton Epoch - CDLX7305



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Christmas Fantasy

Christmas Fantasy


Sleigh Ride

ed. Beecham


In terra pax, Op. 39


Personent Hodie


A Spotless Rose

Sing Lullaby


The Holy Boy


Wassail Song

arr. Williams

Vaughan Williams:

Fantasia on Christmas Carols

The blessed Son of God


Lullaby my Jesus


Benedicamus Domino

Bethlehem Down

Choirs and orchestras join for a beautiful celebration of 20th-century British Christmas favourites recorded in sumptuous Argo sound. Book-ended by two perennial favourites – Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on Christmas Carols and Finzi’s In terra pax – this collection explores the subtle and radiant music of Howells, Warlock, Ireland and Holst, and includes an orchestral number popularized by Beecham, Delius’s Sleigh Ride. A magical Christmas journey!

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4806554



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Delius: Mass of Life & Idyll

Delius: Mass of Life & Idyll


A Mass of Life

Janice Watson (soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano), Andrew Kennedy (tenor), Alan Opie (baritone)

The Bach Choir

Prelude & Idyll

Janice Watson (soprano) & Alan Opie (baritone)

Bournemouth Symphony, David Hill

Long an admirer of Nietzsches poetry, Frederick Delius composed A Mass of Life while at the height of his powers, blending passages from Also Sprach Zarathustra into orchestral textures of great expressive depth and striking beauty. Written in his final years, the Prelude and Idyll sourced music from a long discarded opera, transforming a story of lust and vengeance into one which emphasizes the transience of life and love. David Hills previous BSO recordings include a perfectly judged Dies natalis by Gerald Finzi (The Guardian on 8570417), while his Vaughan Williams Sancta Civitas (8572424) was described as thrilling a great case for a neglected work (Classic FM).

Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

“The singing is suitably majestic for Nietzsche's vision of mankind's destiny...Hill draws some marvellously expressive playing from the BSO, with soloists – chief among them Alan Opie – in magnificent form.” The Observer, 27th May 2012

“Alan Opie, who has the lion's share of the solo music in the work, is almost Wotan-like in his performances...Andrew Kennedy, Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Janice Watson also offer fine lyrical interpretations of their solo parts...This is a must for any Delius Liebhaber and...a marvellous starting point for anyone new to Delius's unique but compelling art.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2012

“Even if you already have those discs, the excellent line-up of vocal and orchestral forces in this new one is well worth investigating, the Bach Choir on fine form and the four soloists sounding thoroughly immersed in their roles...Hill maintains the inner momentum and points up the essential poetry of the piece.” The Telegraph, 7th June 2012 *****

“David Hill's impressive new recording with his Bach Choir (in the original German) boasts confident, ardent choral singing and orchestral playing, and a string solo team - even if Alan Opie, representing the prophet Zarathustra, perhaps makes his points with too much Wagnerian declamation at the expense of line....But listeners tempted by Naxos's bargain price into exploring this work won't be disappointed.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 ****

“splendid modern sound, a thrilling choir and orchestra, and, in David Hill, a conductor no less devoted to Delius than his more celebrated predecessor [Beecham]. His soloists are outstanding: Janice Watson, Catherine Wyn-Rogers and Andrew Kennedy sing with clarity and radiance, but the star is Alan Opie, whose lyrical singing is wonderful.” Sunday Times, 10th June 2012

“Even I, congenitally allergic to Delius’s music and Nietzsche’s writing, can scarce forbear to cheer this stunning recording...it certainly celebrates life, especially in this thrilling performance by the Bach Choir, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and quality soloists” The Times, 16th June 2012 *****

“fresh, finely nuanced singing.” Financial Times, 23rd June 2012

“It's a tribute to David Hill and his musicians and technical team that this rolling wave of joy is exceptionally well caught.” MusicWeb International, August 2012

“Hill draws some magnificent playing from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and has a top-class quartet of soloists, most notably baritone Alan Opie (who has the lion’s share of the solo music in the work) who delivers a lyrical and radiant account. The chorus parts are notoriously hard but the members of the Bach Choir rise to the challenges superbly and help produce a really thrilling performance.” Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical, 16th July 2012

Presto Disc of the Week

16th July 2012

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2012

Naxos - 8572861-62

(CD - 2 discs)


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Fauré: Requiem

Fauré: Requiem


Requiem, Op. 48

Cantique de Jean Racine, Op. 11

Christopher Robinson (organ)

with St John's College Choir, Cambridge

Tantum ergo, Op. 65 No. 2

Messe basse

Maria Mater gratiae Op. 47 No. 2

“a charming freshness, and many unmistakeably Faurean touches” Gramophone Magazine

“its special quality is it uses boy trebles and male altos...most winning” Penguin Guide

Alto - ALC1078



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Victoria: Requiem

Victoria: Requiem

Gregorian Chant:

Credo quod Redemptor meus

Ego sum resurrectio - Benedictus Dominus, Deus Israel


Requiem 1605 'Officium defunctorum'

Taedet animam meam

Versa est in luctum

Libera me Domine

“This goes to the head of the list of some fine versions of this Requiem” Fanfare

“Glorious. A rich, luminous acoustic halo seems to surround the music as it soars ever upward. Under David Hill’s expert direction this choir has achieved a depth and body of tone totally appropriate to this fullblooded Iberian music” Good CD Guide

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Hyperion 30th Anniversary - CDA30026


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Byrd: The Three Masses

Byrd: The Three Masses


Mass for five voices

Mass for four voices

Mass for three voices

Presto CD

Argo - 4301642

(Presto CD)


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Bairstow - Choral Music

Bairstow - Choral Music


Jesu the very thought

Blessed City, heavenly Salem

Evening Service in D for choir & organ

Lord, thou hast been our refuge

If the Lord had not helped me

Let all mortal flesh keep silence

Evening Service in G for choir & organ

Five Poems of the Spirit for solo baritone, choir & orchestra

Save us, O Lord

Paul Provost (organ) & Roderick Williams (baritone)

The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge & Britten Sinfonia, David Hill (Director of Music)

“…Bairstow could hardly have finer advocates than David Hill's St John's Choir, beautiful in tone and balance… admirably clear in enunciation, well supported by rhythmic organ playing, and outstandingly well recorded. And the late cycle of Five Poems of the Spirit, given luxury casting with the superb Roderick Williams as solo baritone and the firm support of the Cambridge-based Britten Sinfonia, does give the disc life beyond the choir stalls.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2007 ****

“An excellent disc in regard both to the standard of performance and to the selection of Bairstow's music. And to that should be added straight away the quality of recorded sound, for in choral music of this type it is particularly important to allow for enough reverberance and sense of space without loss of clarity; also to balance choir and organ so as to keep a focus upon the singers and their words while enabling the organist to exploit the full range of the instrument in tone and volume.
The recommendation for this new issue is confirmed most decisively by the inclusion of the FivePoems of the Spirit. Completed in 1944, it remained unpublished till after Bairstow's death.
The orchestration was provided by Sir Ernest Bullock, and with its baritone solos and (largely) early-17th-century texts it stands, not unworthily, alongside Vaughan Williams's Five MysticalSongs. Particularly memorable is the fourth, Raleigh's 'Give me my scallop-shell of quiet', but all are attractive. Roderick Williams is the ideally suited soloist and the Britten Sinfonia do justice to a delightful score. In the accompanied anthems and services the organ parts are played with skilful registration by Paul Provost, and the choir sing throughout with their customary expressiveness and variety of colour: exquisitely (for instance) in the unaccompanied Jesu, the very thought of Thee.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“An excellent disc in regard both to the standard of performance and to the selection of Bairstow's music. …Five Poems of the Spirit… remained unpublished till after Bairstow's death. Roderick Williams is the ideally suited soloist and the Britten Sinfonia do justice to a delightful score.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2007

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Hyperion - CDA67497


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Howells: Hymnus Paradisi & Sir Patrick Spens

Howells: Hymnus Paradisi & Sir Patrick Spens


Hymnus Paradisi

Sir Patrick Spens

The world premiere recording of Sir Patrick Spens provides the coupling, a Scottish ballad for huge forces – very large orchestra, choir and baritone soloist. It was written around 1922 when the composer was around 30 years of age

“Crippling numbness of loss' was the effect on Herbert Howells of his young son Michael's death from meningitis. The composer eventually confronted his bereavement in Hymnus Paradisi… David Hill… sensitively presents the emotional nerve-ends of Howell's moving work. Notwithstanding explicitly dramatic moments, the pervasive feel of the performance is one of intimate serenity, the 'light and warmth of consolation' which Howells wanted for himself, and for the listener. The coupling is of major interest to Howells specialists - Sir Patrick Spens, a maritime cantata with solo baritone (the excellent Roderick Williams)…” BBC Music Magazine, Proms 2007 ****

“Hymnus Paradisi is the composer's most widely acknowledged masterpiece. Choral and orchestral forces are well balanced and precise… Claire Rutter sustains her long phrases and has the right consolatory warmth in her middle range, while tenor James Gilchrist sings with grace and fine diction. Sir Patrick Spens, recorded now for the first time, is strong in its own merits. In this setting of the old Scots ballad Howells is at his most vigorously imaginative; it is difficult to understand the neglect.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2007

Naxos - 8570352



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