Hyperion Starts Britten Centenary Celebrations

Hyperion’s October releases include the young violinist Alina Ibragimova with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Vladimir Jurowski (in his Hyperion premiere) with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64, paired with the early Violin Concerto in D minor. 2013 sees the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth and Hyperion starts celebrating early with a disc of two of the composer’s most popular choral works, both with a Christmas relevance. The cantata Saint Nicolas tells the story of the original ‘Santa Claus’, a fourth-century saint whose acts led to his canonization as patron saint of children and sailors. Britten’s lively setting is distinctly operatic, full of incident and colour—with the story brought ‘home’ through the use of congregational hymns. The Cardinall’s Musick are acknowledged as the premier performers of Byrd’s choral music. Their recordings of his Latin church music received the highest possible critical acclaim and the final volume won Gramophone Record of the Year. Now they turn to the composer’s English settings and in particular the Great Service, described as ‘the finest unaccompanied setting of the Service in the entire repertory of English church music’ upon its discovery in 1922.