Ian Venables: Requiem | Howells: anthems for choir & orchestra


Conductor Benjamin Nicholas draws parallels between the familiar English choral sound of Howells and that of contemporary composer Ian Venables. Venables’ Requiem has already been warmly received by critics in a 2020 recording with just organ accompaniment. Now, Nicholas and his Merton College choir present it in an orchestrated version made specially for this recording.

The Howells items here are also premiere recordings: new instrumental accompaniments to two of his Four Anthems, in arrangements by Howells scholars Howard Eckdahl and Jonathan Clinch, illuminate and intensify his rich choral writing like back-lighting on a stained-glass window, and they are complemented by the first recording of Howells’ original orchestration of The House of the Mind – a chance to hear one of his major underperformed works, introspective yet dramatic.

Track listing will appear here following release date

"Originally concieved for choir and organ, the Requiem here is presented in new clothes: an orchestral version tailored specifically for this recording which adds further colour and texture to the piece ... By turns moving and consoling to the living, Venables' Requiem here recieves a superb rendition from Benjamin Nicholas and his Oxford forces, ever responsive to the composer's emotional tradjectory through the liturgical text ... A thoroughly admirable release"

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Release Date: 11 November 2022
Catalogue No: DCD34252
Total playing time: 77:30

Recorded on 27-29 June 2021 in the Chapel of Merton College, Oxford
Producer/Engineer: Paul Baxter
24-bit digital editing: Jack Davis
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter

Design: John Christ
Booklet editor: Henry Howard
Cover: Philip Wilson Steer (1860–1942), Painswick Beacon 1915.
Session photography: Matthew Johnson
Singing In Secret: Clandestine Catholic Music by William Byrd CD Delphian Records


Venables:Requiem Op. 48, V. Sanctus

Album Booklet

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