Gramophone Magazine April 2016 Editor's Choice
Gramophone Awards 2016 Finalist - Choral
Howells’ ‘Coll Reg’ is one of the glories of the Anglican repertoire—a relative outsider to the church providing one of its greatest adornments of the twentieth century. Stephen Layton and his award-winning choir took the trip to Coventry Cathedral for this very special recording.
The Evening Service boasts some beautifully controlled singing from the sopranos in particular, their deft tapering of quiet dynamics in the Magnificat heightening the introspective quality of Howells's setting…you could take dictation from the two Psalm settings, so clean is the diction, so revealing Layton's phrasing and punctuation…you'll go a long way to find performances that understand [this] music better, or wear their sensitivity so lightly. BBC *****
This is a stunning recording in so many respects. Attention to dynamic detail, especially the hushed quality of the Magnificat, brings out the ethereal, not to say numinous character of this highly original miniature…the darker, modal hues of the Te Deum and Jubilate benefit from the lavish role of the Coventry Cathedral organ…while moments of more characteristic Anglican prayerfulness are shaped by Layton and the Trinity choir with true, intimate poetry. Gramophone