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En Prière – The Girl Choristers of All Saints’ Church, Northampton
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845 – 1924)
Ave Maria Op. 67 No. 2 [2:08]
Jean LANGLAIS (1907 – 1991)
Missa in simplicitate [10:46]
Jehan ALAIN (1911 – 1940)
O quam suavis [2:12] Ave Maria [1:58]
Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902 – 1986)
Fugue sur le Thème du Carillon des heures de la Cathédrale de Soissons [3:29]*
Jean LANGLAIS (1907 – 1991)
Cinq
motets [9:34]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845 – 1924)
Ave Maria Op. 93 [4:40]
Jean LANGLAIS
(1907 – 1991)
Melody (1st movement from Triptyque) [5:32]

Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902 – 1986)
Pie Jesu (from Requiem Op. 9) [3:36] Gabriel FAURÉ (1845 – 1924)
En Prière [3:11]
Andre CAPLET (1878 – 1925)
Sanctus [1:30] Benedictus [1:24]
Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902 – 1986)
In Paradisum (from Requiem Op.9) [2:57] Richard Pinel, organ Girls’ Choir All Saints’ Church, Northampton  Edward Whiting, Director and organ* Recorded in Exeter College, Oxford, April 2004
LAMMAS LAMM 170D [54:06]



 

The Girls’ Choir was formed at All Saints’ Church, Northampton, in 1994. The church had had an all-male choir of Lay Clerks and Choral Scholars for the preceding 450 years. This continues but is now joined, for some services, and on tour, by the Girls’ Choir. This recording was made to mark the 10th anniversary of the choir’s foundation.

The programme is taken from the works of five French composers four of whom (Alain, Langlais, Duruflé and Fauré) were also church organists. The fourteen-strong choir has a really beautiful ensemble tone, with clarity of diction and expression. The overall effect is at times wonderful, the deceptively straightforward melody in the Langlais Sanctus, followed by the more dramatic Benedictus present no problems for the choir, and their sensitive interpretation of the Missa in simplicitate is a joy to hear.

There are three contrasting settings of the Ave Maria, two by Fauré and the third by Alain. The Op. 93 of Fauré has always been a favourite of mine, and the choir do it full justice, with the changes in mood and emphasis well stated. The part-singing is particularly fine, with well observed dynamics. The Alain setting was unfamiliar to me, and is entrancing, with the choir interpreting the composer’s music in a very moving way, with some fine quiet passages.

I had not heard anything by Caplet before, and the two works on this disc are little gems, and perhaps an indication of what might have been to come, had his life not been cut short as result of the First World War.

The final track is In Paradisum from the Duruflé Requiem, and the sleeve-notes indicate that “the girls are joined by a specially assembled group of Oxford-based gentlemen.” Although less than three minutes in length, this track gives some indication of the added richness that this choir must have brought to the musical life of their church.

The Duruflé organ fugue is powerfully played by the choir’s Director, Edward Whiting, and the organ accompaniment of the choral works is sensitively accomplished by Richard Pinel.

The overall sound is very good, and the accompanying notes give full words and translations.

Bob Bamlett

 



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