Jon, I’ll agree to the Romantic orchestration, but I’ll offer my favorite recording is not the Beecham rendition (which I’ve been playing quietly in the office this week) but the 1979 London Philharmonic recording on Sparrow Records. I think the tempos are better. I know I wore out one set of those blue tapes and I think I nearly did the second before I ever got another version.

My all time favorite performance, now, was a local sing along in 1996, when a soprano in the Wilson (N.C.) Church Musicians Guild sang “He Shall Lead His Flock” totally without operatic flourish — simple, clear, and expressive of what the Puritans called “heart religion”. Even the vibrato was minimal, just enough you knew she knew how. Wow, wow, wow.