CD of the Month: The Feast of St Michael
Our CD of the month for September is The Feast of St Michael and All Angels at Westminster Abbey, to coincide with the celebration of Michaelmas on the 29th September. The wonderful music on this CD was recorded inside the Abbey in 2007 featuring the Westminster Abbey Choir, with James O’Donnell conducting and Robert Quinney playing the organ.
Michaelmas Day celebrates St Michael the Archangel who is the patron saint of sea and maritime lands, ships, boatmen and horses and horsemen. He is also known as the angel that hurled Luther down from heaven to defeat him in the war in heaven. Michaelmas Day celebrates this heroic defeat over Satan and St Michael’s role as an angelic warrior and protector. The Feast of St Michael is also traditionally known as the last day of the harvest season. There are many traditions which have become associated with Michaelmas day over the centuries including referring to it as Goose Day. One of the reasons this is thought to be the case is because Elizabeth I was eating goose on Michaelmas day when she was informed about the Spanish Armada’s defeat. Following this she said she would eat goose on every Michaelmas day in celebration, and others followed in her footsteps.
Our CD of the month features a selection of music from The Feast of St Michael and All Angels from a variety of different composers. The music has been inspired by the texts for Michaelmas which describe the angelic host and the war in heaven and as such are incredibly dramatic. This lends itself to the powerful compositions that have been assembled here, which are beautifully brought to life by the Westminster Abbey Choir and organ. A highlight of the CD is from the Eucharist section: Messe Solennelle by Jean Langlais. This composition really makes the most of the exceptional voices of the choir with soaring notes and harmonies which are a joy to listen to.
If you would like to browse our full selection of CDs from the Abbey Choir then please click here.