Pelham Humfrey (1647–1674) was a genuine baroque pioneer in the word-setting of English biblical texts, as well as applying elements of French and Italian styles to his work. By the age of seventeen his anthems were evidently in use. He later succeeded Henry Cooke (his father-in-law) as Master of the Children of the Chapel Royal and also became composer to the Court. Humfrey died at the age of 27, but along with Matthew Locke exerted a strong influence on his peers even at his young age, including William Turner, Henry Purcell, and John Blow.
The seven symphony anthems included on this recording have been selected from the extant 19 to demonstrate Humfrey’s range of work in the genre. The anthems represent his most substantial contribution to English music and show him to be the country’s leading composer of the early Restoration period.
Edward Higginbottom is one of the UK’s leading musicians, with a global reputation for his work as a choral director, established through his directorship of New College Choir Oxford over many years. The newly formed Oxford Consort of Voices is made up of singers largely selected from the alumni of Oxford’s famous collegiate choirs.