Recorded in the Lady Chapel of Ely Cathedral, the Cambridge Singers under the direction of John Rutter produced a duo of discs dedicated to Music of the English Church previously issued as two separate discs, 'Hail, Gladdening Light', and its companion piece, 'Faire is the Heaven'. The discs here are straight copies of those discs; hence, if you have those already, there is no need to purchase this - on the other hand, if you do not have the other discs, this is a bargain.
This is all unaccompanied music, sung in a cathedral chapel acoustically suited for such music. The first disc has four primary sections: Music of the Latin Rite; Music of the Reformation; Music of the Restoration; and Anglican Revival and the twentieth century. The most famous composers in English music history -- Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons -- combine with later masters such as Purcell, Stanford, Howells, Walton, Britten and Vaughan Williams to form a truly masterful collection. These are anthems, hymns and other liturgical pieces that have remained important in Anglican worship, and can be often heard in situ on Sundays around the world. However, the Cambridge Singers bring their special music talent to the task, producing a good standard bearer for music of the English Church.
On the second disc, there are six Latin motets, set by composers such as Taverner, Howells, Stanford, Vaughan Williams, Philips and Dering. Anthens and Introits include notables Tomkins and Purcell, and lesser-known composers such as Amner, Bairstow and Goss. Hymns span the range from old to modern, including a hymn by John Rutter himself. The disc ends with three prayer settings, including one by the underappreciated John Sheppard, and another from William Harris, whose hymn serves as the title to the companion disc.