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Loving Shepherd - Hymns sung by the Choirs and Congregation of Blackburn Cathedral
Loving Shepherd of thy sheep; Thy hand; O God has guided; Walking in the Garden; O God of earth and altar; Hymn for St. Cecilia; Crown him with many crowns; Holy Spirit; ever dwelling; Eternal Ruler; Praise to the Lord; the Almighty; Loving Father; Hark what a sound; Servant King; Lord for the years; Amazing grace; Steal away; Let all the World; Ye watchers and ye holy ones; Close thine eyes; Peace; perfect peace; Jubilate; Collegium Regale; Make us Holy; How shall I Sing that Majesty; God be in my head; Angel voices.
Choirs and Congregation of Blackburn Cathedral/Richard Tanner
Greg Morris (organ)
rec. Blackburn Cathedral, 13-14 Nov 2004; 16-18 June 2005

This is an excellent collection of hymns in sometimes new arrangements.
We begin with Richard Tanner’s own tune with a text by Jane Beeson “Loving Shepherd of thy sheep”, written for the Baptism of his son James. This is an unusual but very apt beginning as it also highlights Tanner’s undoubted talents and his choral forces. The unfamiliar is followed by the well known “Thy hand, O God, has guided”, to the tune by Basil Harwood.
This assembly of 24 hymns and anthems is good in juxtaposing the popular and the more obscure. For example “God be in my head” is reborn in a new tune by Herman Brearly; it is followed by the “Angel Voices” in familiar clothing. I was particularly taken by the arrangements of “Amazing Grace” and “Steal Away” (used by Tippett in “Child of our Time”), here reworked by John Bertalot. “Hymn for Cecilia” is sung and played with great aplomb! There is also terrific brass accompaniment in an exuberant version of the lovely “Ye Watchers and ye holy ones”.
Vaughan Williams’ “Let all the world in every corner sing” and Herbert Howells’ “Jubilate” (Collegium Regale) are familiar to visitors to Cathedrals and are what I call anthems. At my school we had to sing the “Jubilate” by Stanford at our Commemoration; fortunately no-one was around to hear me attempt singing along to these tuneful choirs! However I loved both of these very English pieces written by composers who both had tough lives but gave us life-affirming music. An earlier great choral composer Orlando Gibbons is represented by a moving rendition of “Peace Perfect Peace”.
For collectors of hymn anthologies this is a “must buy”. There is a feeling of spiritual uplift and freshness to the whole enterprise. This is ideal for the car or to unwind to. You might only want to play a few hymns at a time but every track has something to offer. Congratulations to all concerned!
David R Dunsmore


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