Herbert Howells: Te Deum (Collegium Regale Service) and The Trinity Choir

El 11 de marzo de 2014. Hola. Here’s something very relaxing to listen to and watch (video):

Herbert Howells/Te Deum (Collegium Regale Service) performed by the superb Trinity Choir

The Trinity Choir is the resident Chorus at Trinity Wall Street (Anglican Communion) in Lower Manhattan. They are conducted by Dr Julian Wachner, Director of Music and the Arts at Trinity Wall Street. In this performance, The Trinity Choir was accompanied by organist Eric William Suter, former organist of Washington National Cathedral. Eric has been filling in for awhile as guest organist at Trinity Wall Street until they find a permanent Principal Organist.

For those who know nothing about The Trinity Choir, they are not your typical church choir by any measure. For example, they recently served as the Chorus with The English Concert in a performance of Händel’s oratorio Theodora, and received superb reviews. They had performances in France, at The Barbican in London, in the City of Birmingham in England, as well as at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan. How many church choirs sing at Carnegie Hall with the English Concert?

The Trinity Choir sang Herbert Howells’s Te Deum for the Offertory Anthem in this Liturgy (see link at the bottom of the page). You can’t have too much Howells as far as I’m concerned. He’s one of my favourite Anglican composers.

For those who don’t know the translation, the Collegium Regale Service was written for the Choir and the Chapel (the acoustics of the building) at King’s College Cambridge, England. Trinity’s service leaflet said the Te Deum was from The St Paul’s Service (written for St Paul’s Cathedral/London), but I know that’s not correct. It’s the Collegium Regale. Did Howells write a Te Deum for St Paul’s Cathedral? Not that I know of. Just the Evensong canticles, which are among my favourite also.

About this performance of the Howells: It’s very enjoyable, beautiful and I find it very relaxing. You know how some soprano sections in a Chorus can sound like they’re straining or struggling with high notes and they’re not well-trained? They don’t “lift” up to the note and hear the note in their head before singing it, or they just can’t do that? The typical church choir can sound like that. But fortunately we have the magnificent Trinity Choir and that’s never a problem with them. All of the sections (SATB) are superb with The Trinity Choir. There is no weak section whatsoever. In this Howells, the soprano section of The Trinity Choir float effortlessly (as in the video below at 01.07.30 in the video). Well, I should say they make it sound effortless and that’s the intent, but in reality it takes a great deal of talent, a very good and refined ear and vocal precision/skill. I’ve sung the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis of the Collegium Regale Service, but I don’t remember singing the Te Deum, although I’ve heard it many times from the King’s College Choir CD. I listened to part of the King’s College Choir CD the other night and I thought that Trinity’s performance was better. I’m doing this by ear since I don’t have the score in front of me but the text there (where the sopranos float effortlessly) is, “We believe that God shall come to be our judge,” with the sopranos on their high E-Flat ascending up to G-Flat on the word “be-lieve,” and you see in the video the incense rising in the distance. It was perfect, both the sound from the Chorus (perfect intonation) and the visual effect created with the incense. Speaking of Howells, I’d like to hear The Trinity Choir perform Howells’s Gloucester Service and the rarely-performed anthem, “I Love all Beauteous Things.” Maybe they will do those pieces sometime.

I also liked Eric’s concluding organ voluntary for this Liturgy. He played Improvisation sur le Te Deum Charles Tournemire (1870-1939), reconstructed by M. Duruflé.

The following Sunday (the Last Sunday of Epiphany) for the psalm the Men of the Trinity Choir sang an “Old Kiev Chant” (which begins in the video at this link at 15.55). That was excelente, both their sound and their impeccable diction. Those tenors “worked it.” The Men of The Trinity Choir reminded me of The Men’s Chorus of any well-trained Symphony Chorus. The Trinity Choir and the St Thomas Choir of Men and Boys (Fifth Avenue) are my favourites in Manhattan. They are both of the same high quality/caliber. Unfortunately, St Thomas Fifth Avenue still does not have video webcast of their Liturgies. Maybe one day. Chau.—rosa barrio

Here are the links:

Sunday 11:15 Holy Eucharist

The Howells Te Deum begins at 01.02.43 in the video in the link immediately above.

Service leaflet:

The Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

More articles about The Trinity Choir:

Herbert Howells: St Paul’s Service (The Trinity Choir)
Getting High on Chorus, Brass, Percussion, Harp and Organ
The Trinity Choir and High Renaissance
Not Messiah again?!
JS Bach – O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, BWV 118 (The Trinity Choir)
The Trinity Choir performs Draw us in the Spirit’s tether
The Trinity Choir and Benjamin Britten’s Antiphon
The Trinity Choir performs Bach’s Magnificat
The Trinity Choir (Trinity Wall Street)