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“Under David Hill and subsequently James O'Donnell the choir of Westminster Cathedral established a tradition of excellent recordings for Hyperion. That tradition is as strong as ever under Martin Baker, who became Master of the Music in 2000. Like his immediate predecessors, Baker is exploring repertoire which isn't just challenging and unusual, but of real value. The Missa parvula for unison boys' voices vividly recalls Britten's Missa brevis both in its terse musical language and understated emotion. The opening of the Mass occupies the same soundworld as the Missa parvula and it's only with the thrilling and lavishly scored Gloria that it's apparent we are now into a work of much greater depth and impact. This is a hugely impressive performance, as much for the astonishing effect of the two organs as for the often magical choral effects. Baker entices some of the most wonderful singing from his choir here while Roberts Quinney and Houssart revel in their virtuoso interplay. Hyperion's recording captures the full effect of Maxwell Davies' astonishing writing. A revelatory disc for those keen to know what sort of 'establishment' music we might expect from the new Master of the Queen's Music.”
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