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“This CD is made up predominantly of anthems, devotional songs and a morning service (a functional, though not perfunctory, setting of the TeDeum and Jubilate) most of which disclose the range and quality of the composer's sacred oeuvre near its best. Of the two settings of I was glad, the first was, until not long ago, thought to be the work of John Blow. This full anthem more than whets our appetite with its agreeable tonal and melodic twists; when the Gloria arrives, we're assured that this is vintage Purcell by the sensitive pacing as much as an exquisite contrapuntal denouement. The earlier setting is more poignant. Opening with a string symphony in the spirit of a Locke consort, the music blossoms into a deliciously Elysian melodic fabric. Good sense is made of the overall shape and the soloists are, as ever, excellent. Beati omnes is a positive gem; this may well have been written for the composer's wedding. Of the small-scale pieces, In the black dismal dungeon is the real masterpiece; it's delivered astutely by the secure and musicianly voice of Susan Gritton. Finally to the funeral pieces. Here we have an ominous procession from the Guild of Ancient Fifes and Drums and the first appearance of four 'flatt' trumpets – as opposed to two plus two sackbuts; the effect of this subtle timbral change makes extraordinary sense of the music, engendering a new grandeur and uncompromising clarity as would have befitted such an occasion. The vocal performances are earthy and impassioned.”
“An outstanding series, full of treasures, with King varying the scale of forces he uses for each item. Often he uses one voice per part, but he regularly expands the ensemble with the King's Consort Choir or turns to the full New College Choir, which includes trebles. The individual discs are no longer available separately, but all 11 CDs come neatly packaged in cardboard sleeves.”
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