Our CD of the month for January is Rejoice, the Lord is King! by the Westminster Abbey Choir. It was recorded inside Westminster Abbey in January 2013 with James O’Donnell conducting and Robert Quinney playing the organ. Unlike other CDs that have been recorded by the Westminster Abbey Choir this one does not follow the format of a special service and instead is a collection of classic hymns.

Rejoice the Lord is King CD Cover

Hymns are a type of song which has been written to praise something or for the purpose of prayer; in fact the word hymn comes from the Greek word hymnos, meaning song of praise. Hymns have become a staple of the Christian church, although they pre-date the beginnings of Christianity and examples can be found in the works of the Ancient Egyptians. In ancient and medieval times hymns would have been accompanied by stringed instruments such as the harp, the lyre or the lute; now the most common accompaniment is the organ, as you will hear on this CD. The current organ in the Abbey was made by Harrison and Harrison and was installed for the Coronation of King George VI in 1937. The earliest evidence of an organ existing within the Abbey dates from 1304.

Rejoice, The Lord is King! includes an excellent selection of hymns, providing a great introduction to the choir’s choral music if you are not familiar with the special services that feature on the other CDs. The title track by George Frideric Handel, arranged by Robert Quinney, is a highlight of the CD with its rousing melody and split vocal parts. There are also some well-known hymns which you will find yourself singing along to, such as Jerusalem, Guide me, O great Redeemer and Abide with me.

If you would like to view more of the choir’s CD collection, please click here.