To be liveable with, hymn recordings musn't just reproduce the hearty but lethargic combustion of a congregation driven or discouraged by an ever-present organist. Stephen Cleobury's speeds allow the poet equal rights with the composer and his direction commits the phrasing with easy grace to the presiding acoustic. His descants and falsibordons never demolish the spirit of the original, nor do Richard Farnes's occasional alternative harmonies cock any snooks, but rather widen the dimension slightly. Variations of strength are achieved by using soloists or sections of the choir in contrast to the solidity of SATB.
There are few departures from standard practice, but the version of