I’m listening this evening to a newish recording of music by Herbert Howells, sung with exquisite refinement by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, under the direction of Stephen Layton. This is awfully good stuff.
[Here is a review on another blog: *****CD Review • Howells Requiem • Choir of Trinity College Cambridge • Stephen Layton • Few conductors do Howells as well as Mr Layton. He has given himself every opportunity, mind, to produce perfect results: beautiful acoustics in Lincoln and Ely Cathedrals; brilliant choir of male and female undergraduates from Trinity College Cambridge; choice repertoire – how light the divided girls at the beginning of the Gloucester Magnificat and how gloriously the tutti inflates the arching phrase of that item’s main theme. Perfect results he certainly does produce. The St Paul’s Service is as fresh as the Gloucester. The JF Kennedy funeral anthem Take Him Earth for Cherishing is deeply, democratically moving in its unisons which give way to the most finely calculated chords as only Howells writes. The Requiem veers powerfully between the simplicity of its psalm settings and the drama of the opening and closing movements. Speeds throughout the disc have weight and momentum; diction is so good that some aitches come out whistled, so the She hath put down the mighty and God is female for once. The one turn-off is final hymn which sounds too much like Songs of Praise although it does give the sleeve note writer the chance to rehearse the anecdote of Howells composing the tune before he had finished breakfast one morning.]
I seem to be somewhat bi-polar in my listening these days. I’ll spend days immersing myself in Sibelius, then in Elgar, then in Broadway show tunes, then in solo vocal literature, then in Howells, then in Anglican chant and hymn tunes. At least I’m consistent – Broadway, Britain, bundled up snowy tunes from Finland . . . .
My diary shows me this evening at a supper club in South City with friends, but I’m just not feeling well. This ear thing is really troubling. All the sleeping may be helping, but I’m downright frustrated.
So I’m home tonight, working a bit on emails, running a load of laundry, looking ahead in the diary to a very busy October, prepping for a meeting tomorrow morning with my Provost. Dinner was some ham salad, some pineapple, and a piece of gooey butter cake (too rich for me, believe it or not, but so tempting).