One of the guilty pleasures of attending traditional Christian worship led by a good choir is being able to participate in lusty hymn singing, especially when the final verse of a hymn is crowned with a soaring descant and underpinned by a decadent reinvention of the original harmonies on the organ.

Over the years, scores of organist-composers have enjoyed creating these settings, and many of them have been published in overseas anthologies. Some Australians, such as June Nixon and the late Rosalie Bonighton have been represented in such volumes. Now, in what is probably a first, Melbourne-based Crescendo Music Publications has produced a volume of descants and reharmonizations all by Australian composers.

Ranging from the restrained to the rapturous, these 25 arrangements come from many well-established church musicians along the eastern seaboard, including Robert Boughen, David Drury and Michael Leighton Jones, to name but a few.

Thoughtful, high-end production values make this volume a model of its kind. Specially commissioned artwork for the covers and endpapers by Matt Roberts, along with good paper...