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Te Deum in C major; Mass No. 1 in D Minor

Joan Rodgers (soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (alto), Keith Lewis (tenor),
Alastair Miles (bass) & James O' Donnell (organ)
Corydon Singers & Corydon Orchestra/Matthew Best

Hyperion Helios - CDH55356 (recorded 1993)

A very welcome re-issue of an admired recording of near twenty years ago. These are fine works (the Te Deum one of Bruckner's own favourites) in excellent studio recordings made in an acoustically ideal church.

The photo in the booklet, though not very clear, shows that there were probably less than half a dozen microphones being used under the direction of Antony Howell and colleagues, a change from the forest of mics we see nowadays, one close to each small group of instrumentalists and singers.

The consequence is that this more surely reflects the intentions of the conductor and his ears, as he steers his large choir and orchestra through dedicated accounts of important choral works which are heard only very infrequently in UK. The sound is spacious yet well focused, and the soloists sound to be part of the whole rather than spotlit at the front.

One curiosity is that for the Te Deum the organ of Westminster Cathedral was dubbed into the mix, entirely satisfactorily. Those tricks are nothing new, as some listeners might assume.The analytic notes by Wadham Sutton, a one time contributor to musical Times and BBC Music Magazine, are full, with full texts and translations and a dozen music examples.

In a comparative review years ago, Music Web concluded "If you possibly can afford it, then get the Corydon Singers’ performances on Hyperion". If you couldn't then, now it is a bargain to snap up.

Peter Grahame Woolf