> SULLIVAN Church Music [PS]: Classical Reviews- May2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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The Church Music

Keble College Choir
(Mark Laflin, with Gavin Plumley, organ)
(in conjunction with the Sir Arthur Sullivan Society)


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Sullivanís "other" music includes a substantial amount of work for the church Ė anthems, hymns and canticles Ė all represented on this very clearly recorded, satisfyingly sung and well presented disc.

The canticles are the "little" (Sullivanís own word), yet expansive Te Deum and Jubilate. The six anthems mostly date from the 1860s, though Who is Like Unto Thee (1883) is contemporary with Princess Ida. Mostly, apart from the lengthy (nearly 15 minutes) Sing, O Heavens, these are in a basically three section form with a central section being for solo voices. Again the writing is expansive and marvellously tuneful in Sullivanís most ingratiating manner.

The carol I sing the Birth, engagingly simple, could be revived in Christmas concerts today with profit. There is one hymn Lead Kindly Light, while The Strain Upraise is a heady amalgam of anthem, chant and hymn. The CD is completed by excerpts from the oratorios The Light of the World, including one adapted as a brief introit for King Edward VIIís Coronation, plus the extract "Brother Thou Art Gone Before Us", well known in its day from other oratorio The Martyr of Antioch. Of the 15 tracks here, four are new to CD and eight others new to recording altogether.

Sullivan was a master of melody and he did not stop writing tunes when he composed for the church. Strongly recommended.

Philip Scowcroft


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