"…Bairstow could hardly have finer advocates than David Hill's St John's Choir, beautiful in tone and balance… admirably clear in enunciation, well supported by rhythmic organ playing, and outstandingly well recorded. And the late cycle of Five Poems of the Spirit, given luxury casting with the superb Roderick Williams as solo baritone and the firm support of the Cambridge-based Britten Sinfonia, does give the disc life beyond the choir stalls."
"An excellent disc in regard both to the standard of performance and to the selection of Bairstow's music. And to that should be added straight away the quality of recorded sound, for in choral music of this type it is particularly important to allow for enough reverberance and sense of space without loss of clarity; also to balance choir and organ so as to keep a focus upon the singers and their words while enabling the organist to exploit the full range of the instrument in tone and volume.
The recommendation for this new issue is confirmed most decisively by the inclusion of the FivePoems of the Spirit. Completed in 1944, it remained unpublished till after Bairstow's death. The orchestration was provided by Sir Ernest Bullock, and with its baritone solos and (largely) early-17th-century texts it stands, not unworthily, alongside Vaughan Williams's Five MysticalSongs. Particularly memorable is the fourth, Raleigh's 'Give me my scallop-shell of quiet', but all are attractive. Roderick Williams is the ideally suited soloist and the Britten Sinfonia do justice to a delightful score. In the accompanied anthems and services the organ parts are played with skilful registration by Paul Provost, and the choir sing throughout with their customary expressiveness and variety of colour: exquisitely (for instance) in the unaccompanied Jesu, the very thought of Thee."
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Blessed City, heavenly Salem Evening Service in D for choir & organ Evening Service in G for choir & organ Five Poems of the Spirit for solo baritone, choir & orchestra If the Lord had not helped me Jesu the very thought Let all mortal flesh keep silence Lord, thou hast been our refuge Save us, O Lord