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In the Heavenly Kingdom

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 16, 2006
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 16, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000F6YWT4
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,031 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Timothy R. Carpenter on July 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful recording! Healey Willan was a Canadian organist (Anglican) and composer of music for the church. His music is not particularly virtuosic or complex; it is music to be used in the context of worship for ennobling the soul, illumining scripture and edifying the listener. My favorite piece here is the gorgeous "Rise up, my Love". It never ceases to affect me no matter how many times I hear it.
The Elora Festival Singers, based in Canada, is a superb choir. Their conductor, Noel Edison, is first-rate. The only fault I can find is that the cathedral acoustic blurs the choral sound a bit more than I like.
I doubt that you will find this music performed better than it is on this recording. Add in Naxos' low price and the disk is a must have for choral music lovers. Highly recommended.
Note added July 30, 2008: I just got around to reading the Jan/Feb 2007 American Record Guide where this recording is listed as one of the best recordings released in 2006.
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This is a well-sung recording of Healey Willan compositions. Willan is typically Anglican in his compositions and at his best. I was happy to hear such a variety of anthemns. As a church musician, I appreciate how well he composes for the average choir. But of course the recording was with a professional choir to show-case his beautiful music. I was very happy with this CD. I used it to enjoy myself but to let my choir director hear some anthems that would be useful in our church.
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I have a particular affinity for the music of Willan, having sung in the choir of the church where he did most of his work - the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Toronto. I have all the recordings made by that choir, so this choir and these performances had big shoes to fill in my mind. My highest expectations were surpassed. This is a first class group that follows closely in the tradition of great choral music that Willan himself set forth. Their blend is impeccable. They use their recording space beautifully. Every nuance of their performances is careful, yet effortless. The choice of music on this album is excellent, combining more and less well-known pieces. It has become one of my most often listened-to recordings.
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This is a great disc of choral music from one of Canada's finest composers of choral music. Totally worth checking out. He was a colleague of Robert Hunter Bell who I once worked with. Dr. Bell spoke of him often, and this led me to check out these works. I am so glad that I did.
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Willan's music is grand and wonderful. I would highly recommend this CD to all my friends, He was a master of composition both organ and choral music.
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