, January 2009
Using his small professional choir, 12 singers at most, and often fewer, Jeremy Summerly directs fresh, finely focused readings of an outstanding collection of Gibbons’s anthems. This may not have so much of the ecclesiastical aura of a traditional cathedral performance with boys’ voices, but it amply makes up in clarity and incisiveness for any lack of weight and warmth. That is particularly so in the six magnificent unaccompanied full anthems which are included, where the astonishing harmonic clashes and progressions in the counterpoint come out with wonderful impact, generally with just a single voice per part.
In addition, there are three fine verse anthems, drawing on the full complement of singers, with organ accompaniment, plus Gibbons’s two evening services, the short one much simpler than the second one. Three organ pieces are also included, though Laurence Cummings’s account of the extended Fantazia in four parts is not as varied as it might be. Fine, clear, atmospheric sound.