English Hymn Anthems (Download)


Alison Balsom trumpet
Parker Ramsay & Douglas Tang organ

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
Directed by Stephen Cleobury

Released 9 March 2015

CD/SACD hybrid

 Available as a cd

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge presents an album of anthems based on hymn tunes from the Anglican choral tradition. Highlights include Parry’s epic Hear my words, ye people, Ireland’s Vexilla Regis, organ preludes on traditional hymns by Parry and Edwards, and Lord, Thou has been our refuge by Vaughan Williams, featuring the trumpeter Alison Balsom. English Hymn Anthems is available on surround-sound CD (SACD) and studio master & mp3 download.

***** – BBC Music Magazine

Editor’s Choice – Gramophone Magazine

In this recording the King’s College Choir offers a varied selection of hymn anthems from the period of their greatest popularity, the 1890s to the 1930s. Most of them owe their materials to Hymns Ancient and Modern (HA&M), the dominant hymnal of the time. The variety of approaches to the form is reflected in their differing generic titles – anthem, motet, hymn, song. Some of the hymn texts are biblical paraphrases; some are poems not originally conceived as hymns. A hymn-anthem may incorporate existing hymn tunes, dating from the 6th to the 19th century, or launch a new tune, which may later be adopted for congregational use, as Parry’s was. Some use scriptural prose as well as a hymn. The musical treatment also varies widely: there may be a recognisably strophic form, like a theme and variations; or the tune may be a source of motives for development or fugal treatment.
The two organ preludes are also based on familiar hymn tunes. The magnificent organ at King’s is well suited to the music of the period, used to great advantage by Stephen Cleobury. The choir offers a vast range of mood and expression, from tender to awe-inspiring, while the famous acoustics of the chapel add an aura of splendour throughout to this marvellous album of hymn anthems.
1 Hear my words, ye people 14:42 Parry, Sir Charles Hubert Hastings
2 O for a closer walk with God 03:15 Stanford, Sir Charles Villiers
3 Blessed city, heavenly Salem 08:00 Bairstow, Sir Edward Cuthbert
4 Jesu, grant me this I pray 04:47 Whitlock, Percy William
5 Seven Chorale Preludes, Set 2 No 5 “Eventide” 04:03 Parry, Sir Charles Hubert Hastings
6 O sons and daughters 02:22 Davies, Sir Henry Walford
7 O what their joy and their glory must be 07:56 Harris, Sir William Henry
8 Three Preludes (Founded on Welsh Hymn Tunes): II. Rhosymedre 04:21 Vaughan Williams, Ralph
9 Vexilla Regis 10:25 Ireland, John Nicholson
10 Three Songs of Praise: I. Praise 02:09 Dyson, Sir George
11 God omnipotent reigneth 03:01 Wood, Charles
12 Lord, Thou has been our refuge* 07:47 Vaughan Williams, Ralph
Total playing time – 72:48
Trumpet: Alison Balsom*


Recorded at 96kHz 24-bit PCM 5.1 surround-sound in the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, by kind permission of the Provost and Fellows, 9-11 July 2013.

Producer & Editor  Simon Kiln
Balance Engineer  Jonathan Allen
Technical Engineer  Richard Hale
SACD Mastering  Simon Gibson