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THE COMPLETE NEW ENGLISH HYMNAL

The Choir of The Kingís School, Canterbury
Matthew Martin, organ
Directed by Howard Ionascu
PRIORY PRCD 716
76'27"

This is a welcome release from the combined chapel and crypt choirs of the Kingís School. Despite being volume 16 of hymns in this series, there is no feeling of all the best hymns having been already recorded. The singing is unforced and the ensemble and blend are very good. The line is excellent and the attention to detail impressive. I particularly enjoyed some of the descants, the variety of unison and harmony, and there is a strong sense of commitment. The beautifully shaped Pange Lingua melody by the male voices is a highlight. I found one or two tempi perhaps a little on the slow side which emphasised the vertical rather than the horizontal. This is only a minor quibble however. The organ accompaniments from Matthew Martin are sensitive and varied. The organ of Sandwich Parish Church sounds well despite a lack of reverberation in the building. The booklet contains interesting background information and texts for all of the items. (It is only marred by a glaring error on page 1 when the organistís surname is wrong!) A fine example of the art of hymn singing.

GMS