Vaughan Williams, Bernstein
Choir of King’s College, Cambridge/Cleobury, Britten Sinfonia (KING’S COLLEGE)
Vaughan Williams’s dramatic cantata Dona nobis pacem (1936), to texts from Walt Whitman, the Bible and the mass, has been re-orchestrated to suit small orchestra and chapel choir, giving heft by upping the use of harp and organ. It’s beautifully sung, with ideal soloists in soprano Ailish Tynan, heart-rending in her cries of “grant us peace”, and baritone Roderick Williams, who sings Whitman’s Reconciliation with exquisite tenderness. Boys’ voices add new poignancy to the brassy, martial moments. George Hill is a fine treble soloist in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, all vividly accompanied by the Britten Sinfonia.