Following hard on the heels of their successful release Psalms
for the Soul (8.554823), Naxos, using the same forces, have
issued this new collection of Hymns and Anthems entitled
Hear My Prayer.
This anthology of popular hymns, anthems and songs in
praise of the Lord, combines elements from Stanford’s Anglican
tradition to Maurice Duruflé’s Catholic convention. From Purcell’s seventeenth-century England
to Eleanor Daley’s twentieth-century Canada, this recording
includes a number of favourites. Among them we find Mendelssohn’s
best known contribution to church music, Hear
My Prayer (1844) which incorporates O, for the wings of a dove.
had the first of his Three Motets, Op. 38: No. 1. Justorum
animae published in 1903 and it sets a latin text from The
Book of Wisdom. A pupil of Stanford, Howells wrote his Magnificat
in 1945 for the evening service at King’s College, Cambridge.
setting of the Psalm 63 O God, thou art my God has been
dated from around 1681. Purcell’s second work here is the five-part
setting of the litany prayer Remember not, O Lord, our offences
which originates from the same period.
Cantique de Jean Racine which has a text from a prayer
by Jean Racine won the composer a prize at his college the École
Niedermeyer in 1865. Duruflé composed his Four Motets in
1960. The first one Ubi caritas et amor comes from the
liturgy for Maundy Thursday and makes use of Gregorian melody.
God is gone up is the second of Finzi’s Three Anthems
(1961) setting texts by the Puritan Edward Taylor.
Another pupil of Stanford, Edgar Bainton has his most famous
piece in the setting of And I saw a new Heaven from Revelations.
It remains a standard in Anglican liturgical repertoire. Mozart’s
Psalm CXVI Laudate Dominum omnes gentes forms part of
his Vesperae solennes de Confessore and was written in
Salzburg in 1780.
eight voice a-capella Crucifixus with words at the heart
of the Credo is characteristic of Italian composer Lotti
who was employed as Maestro di Capella at Venice's Saint Mark’s
Cathedral. Canadian-born composer and conductor Eleanor Daley
turns to Elisabeth Fry’s poem In Remembrance which forms
part of her Requiem. Another successful Canadian composer
Stephen Chatman sets Remember, a poem by Christina Rossetti.
final two works on the release are known throughout the world
in various forms. Lux aeterna is a choral arrangement
of Elgar’s Nimrod from 1899. It was composed as a solemn
memorial tribute to his friend August Jaeger. Forming part of
his Mass, Belgian-born composer César Franck wrote his
Panis angelicus in 1872. It is a setting of a text from
St. Thomas Aquinas.
first class performances demonstrate tremendous technical accomplishment.
The Elora choristers convey an outstanding security of ensemble,
intonation, and enunciation; which is so crucial to psalm settings.
I was especially impressed with the beauty and character of
the interpretations from this well balanced body of choristers.
They provide a highly appropriate concentrated liturgical personality
and are clearly at home with these scores. With the exception
of some early unsteadiness in Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer,
the radiant Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin sings with beauty
and great sensitivity. Last, but certainly not least, the organ
sounds in spectacular form thanks to the expert contribution
of Matthew Larkin.
recorded sound is of high quality and the booklet notes are
interesting and informative.
wonder if I will hear a finer release of sacred choral music