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Lindsay Koob
American Record Guide, January 2016

Hearty bravos to all concerned: David Hill holds his sprawling forces together beautifully, and his trusty Bach Choir (and also dependable Bournemouth Symphony) sing and play their collective heart out for him. Both soloists—especially tenor Hulett—sound fabulous. Sound quality is excellent. Even the diehard Howells fans among you probably have yet to hear all of these marvelous pieces—so don’t let this treasure pass you by. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Jim Svejda
Fanfare, March 2015

Hill not only negotiates all of the work’s enormous technical demands with ease, but he also silences the on-going complaint that the Howells Stabat Mater is somehow a monotonous or monochromatic work. Countless moments in the performance refute that conclusively.

Given the quality of the album…there is now no conceivable reason not explore a 20th-century masterpiece. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review



James A. Altena
Fanfare, March 2015

…this Naxos recording is very fine…

…an indispensible acquisition for the Howells enthusiast; strongly recommended. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review




Piers Burton-Page
International Record Review, December 2014

…the whole team of singers and instrumentalists respond with the utmost fervour to Hill’s evidently inspiring leadership. This is a triumph for all concerned. © 2014 International Record Review




Jeremy Dibble
Gramophone, December 2014

The Bach Choir and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, under David Hill’s brilliant direction, execute Howells’s numinous Stabat mater…with fluency and insight. © 2014 Gramophone




Guy Weatherall
Classical Music, December 2014

Howells’ Stabat Mater was written in the delayed aftermath of the death of his young son, and it’s a deeply involving, moving work. He wrote it for the Bach Choir, and their descendants respond thrillingly to every facet, its bleak anguish and its grave beauty. Hill paces superbly, and Hulett is utterly convincing in taxing solo passages. © 2014 Classical Music



John Quinn
MusicWeb International, November 2014

The music of Stabat Mater is far from straightforward. David Hill charts a very sensible course through the score and his purposeful approach yields dividends though he doesn’t underplay at all the poetry and aching melancholy in the music…he’s helped by the excellent and accurate singing of the Bach Choir and the fine playing of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Benjamin Hulett is marvellous. The timbre of his voice seems ideally suited to the music, both in the loud, ardent passages and when quieter singing is required.

This is a very fine Howells anthology. This is a mandatory purchase for all who love the music of Herbert Howells… © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, November 2014

The Bach choir are very fine throughout, singing with obvious dedication and commitment.

All in all a very fine programme of still-rare but powerful music well performed. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Jeremy Dibble
Gramophone, November 2014

A very moving performance of Howells’s reflections on Mary’s sorrow in a work that drew on the composer’s own painful grief upon the loss of his son. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Shirley Ratcliffe
Choir & Organ, November 2014

David Hill gets into the very soul of the music and extracts an intensely gripping interpretation, enhanced by the superb tenor voice of Benjamin Hulett. © 2014 Choir & Organ




Max Pappenheim
Sinfini Music, October 2014

There’s extraordinary depth of feeling here, and David Hill, the Bach Choir and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra cover an immense range, captured by excellent recording engineering, from blazing anger to almost impossibly quiet grief. The crowning glory is Benjamin Hulett’s fine tenor, which brings heart-breaking intimacy. © 2014 Sinfini Music Read complete review




Audiophilia, October 2014

David Hill brings the Stabat Mater into fine focus with excellent support from orchestra, choir and soloists… © 2014 Audiophilia Read complete review




Terry Blain
BBC Music Magazine, October 2014

Nearly half a century after The Bach Choir premiered Howells’s Stabat Mater they feature again in this new recording. Conductor David Hill elicits a sharply emotional response from them in the intense declamations of the first movement, where the Bournemouth Symphony strings are also cuttingly effective.

Both in the baleful ‘Cujus animam gementem’ and the ardent ‘Eia, Mater’ the plangent tenor Benjamin Hulett is full of character.

The recording captures the scale and broad-brush impact of the music-making impressively enough… © 2014 BBC Music Magazine




David Vernier
ClassicsToday.com, September 2014

Hulett’s lovely, clear-voiced tenor works well against the swirling underlay of the orchestra, as does Alison Hill’s equally pleasing and very accurately-tuned soprano. The sound throughout gives plenty of room to the orchestra…and usually the choir and soloists are appropriately balanced…these three distinctly different pieces—in uniformly fine performances—reveal aspects of [Howell’s] writing and of his very personal motivation for writing that are required listening for anyone who seriously…appreciate this interesting and influential 20th century composer. © 2014 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2014

Herbert Howells carried forward little of the influences of his mentors, Stanford and Charles Wood, [but] this disc shows that his inspiration came from Vaughan Williams. Twenty years his senior, you can almost feel the hand of the older composer guiding Howells through the deeply emotional Stabat Mater, the words relating the tragedy of Christ dying on the cross. David Hill is the conductor of the London based Bach Choir, and Associate Guest Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and I guess these will become reference performances. The sound quality is remarkably detailed yet warm in quality. Very strongly recommended. © 2014 David’s Review Corner



Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, September 2014

…David Hill is steeped in English church music…well supported by fine soloists and the hugely experienced Bach Choir.

The Te Deum represented a fresh approach to Anglican music and it receives a performance to match. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review





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