This is a cracking release--crackling from the outset with a wonderfully crisp Coronation Te Deum
. Hyperion may have been beaten to the post by Naxos's Walton centenary album
, of much the same repertory from the Choir of St John's College, Cambridge, but this is a worthy release also.
Polyphony and conductor Stephen Layton have impressed so often for Hyperion, but perhaps haven't always displayed the last ounce of star quality, as if despite their pedigree much of the wide-ranging repertoire they've recorded isn't totally bedded in. Here, though, there can be barely a reservation. Bags of conviction and character, a truly thrilling sound when the singers let go--and they're mightily impressive in the more complex music such as the meaty mini-Cantata The Twelve and Cantico del Sole. The Missa Brevis and other liturgical numbers may have been written with boy choristers in mind but the Polyphony sound embraces them convincingly. We're treated to three separate versions of the well-travelled A Litany, and also to a string of familiar Christmas "fillers", such as All This Time and What Cheer?. Overall this is a good, clean recording (made in two venues). --Andrew Green