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Music for the Coronation of James II, 1685

The Choir of the Chapel Royal and
The Musicians Extra-Ordinary

Directed by Andrew Gant

William Child Te Deum in E Flat
John Blow Behold, O God our defender
William Turner The King shall rejoice
Henry Lawes Zadok, the Priest
Henry Purcell I was glad, My heart is inditing
Thomas Tallis Litany

Signum SIGCD094 [70.11]

The best of a new batch of Signum vocal CDs, this re-creation of music that accompanied the coronation of James II and Queen Mary in 1685 combines scholarship and superb presentation with the recording bringing into the home so atmospheric a feeling that I am tempted to go to the Chapel of St Jame's Palace, which welcomes visitors on Sunday mornings.

The greatest music is, of course, Purcell's two Odes (which you may have in the wonderful Hyperion collection) but the Te Deum of Willam Child is characterful, and the fine Behold, O God our defender of John Blow supports strongly Andrew Gant's claim that this composer - uneven maybe because of 'his enthusiasm for holding every senior musical position himself' - is ripe for re-appraisal.

The scholarly essays include the menu for the Royal Feast, and the delightful photo of the Children of the Royal Chapel is only one of many illustrations. I have played this CD twice during the week received, and recommend it unreservedly.

Peter Grahame Woolf