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Griffin Records

Ian@griffinrecords.co.uk

King of Glory - Evensong from Salisbury
The service includes:
Gerald FINZI (1901-1956)

Anthem: Lo, the full final sacrifice
and chants
William WALTON (1902-1983)

Set me as a seal

Richard LLOYD (b. 1933)

Settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis from the Salisbury Service
Geoffrey BUSH (b.1920)

OrganVoluntary: Trumpet March
David Halls (organ)
Salisbury Cathedral Choir/Simon Lole
Recorded in Salisbury Cathedral in February 2003, DDD
GRIFFIN GCCD4041 [73:09]

 

As residents of Salisbury, this album has special significance for us and, in fact, we attended this particular Evensong earlier this year. Salisbury Cathedral Choir enjoys one of the finest reputations in the country for the excellence of their singing. Indeed choral music at Salisbury Cathedral has a fine tradition spanning the past seven hundred years. The cathedral choir has sixteen boy choristers and six lay vicars. Since 1961, there has been another set of choristers – the girl choristers – who now share the duties of the cathedral choir. This recording, of course, includes the full Evensong service including Lessons, Psalms, Hymns and Prayers.

After David Hall’s opening organ improvisation, we hear Walton’s Set me as a seal written to the same text from the Song of Solomon that inspired John Ireland’s Greater Love Hath No Man. Whereas Ireland’s setting is overtly romantic, Walton is more measured and more conventionally devotional. The quiet rapt singing beguiles and their articulation is exemplary. Richard Lloyd was assistant organist at Salisbury Cathedral before moving on to Hereford Cathedral and later Durham Cathedral. His marvellous setting of the Magnificat begins in gentle beauty before the power of the organ and the choir reaches upwards and swells majestically around the Cathedral. Lloyd’s setting of the Nunc Dimittis is equally beautiful, beginning very gently with a lovely melodic line sung by the basses. The gradual entry of the upper voices reaches a glorious climax with the entry of the trebles at the words "And to be the glory of thy people Israel".

Gerald Finzi set Richard Crashaw’s versions of the hymns of St Thomas Aquinas, Adoro Te and Lauda Sion Salvatorem as his Lo, the full final sacrifice. This is one of Finzi’s masterpieces. Its quiet dignity, intimacy, slowly evolving melodic lines and powerful emotional climaxes are deeply moving. The Salisbury Choir respond most affectingly.

This Evensong concludes with Geoffrey Bush’s Organ Voluntary: Triumphal March which, despite its name, is a comparatively gentle and restrained celebration, contemplative rather than boastful.

When our treasured English traditions are threatened by the corrosive values of today’s dumbed-down, multi-cultural society, the beauty of the famous Salisbury service is balm indeed.

Grace and Ian Lace

 

 



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