GUSTAV HOLST (1874-1934): The Coming of Christ, H170, 2 Psalms, H117, Nunc Dimittis, H127, I Love my Love, H136.
Catalogue Number: 04N005
Label: EM Records
Description: World premiere recording of the 38-minute oratorio from 1927, a commission from the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral who wanted to recreate a mystery play and got the current Poet Laureate, John Masefield, to provide the texts. The original performance included four angels, the Spirit of Christ, the three kings and four shepherds; all of these parts are read here by a narrator (this takes up just over 15 minutes) while the music consists of seven simple, choral and choral/orchestral songs (Mystery Plays, after all, were meant to be simple, aimed at the lowest common denominator of the attendees). Simple, yes, but beautiful and affecting and actor Hardy provides more than suitable characterizations to differentiate the above-listed characters. At mid-price, a no-brainer for Holst collectors or Anglophiles. Texts included. Robert Hardy (reciter), City of London Choir, Chamber Choir of St. Paul's Girls' School, The Holst Orchestra; Hilary Davan Wetton.