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Pader an Arleth - Music for Truro Cathedral
David BRIGGS (b. 1962)
The Truro Eucharist (Kyrie [2:16]; Gloria [3:34]; Sanctus [1:07]; Benedictus [1:14]; Agnus Dei [2:57])
Jonathan CARNE
Lannanta Carol [4:01]
Russell PASCOE
Lo, how a Rose e’re blooming [5:01]
Gabriel JACKSON (b. 1962)
Missa Triueriensis (Kyrie [2:08]; Gloria [3:50]; Sanctus [1:34]; Benedictus [0:46]; Agnus Dei [2:57])
David BRIGGS (b. 1962)
The Truro Service (Magnificat [4:56]; Nunc Dimittis [6:11])
Paul COMEAU
Preces and Responses [1:19]
The Truro Service (Magnificat [5:00]; Nunc Dimittis [3:50]; Responses after the Creed [8:32]; Watts’ Cradle Song [2:20])
Russell PASCOE
Pader an Arleth [3:57]
Choir of Truro Cathedral/Robert Sharpe
Christopher Gray (organ)
rec. Truro Cathedral, 16, 17, 19 May 2006
REGENT REGCD249 [72:57]



Pader an Arleth (The Lord’s Prayer in Cornish) is the latest choral CD release from Truro Cathedral. It is a collection of anthems and settings represented by contemporary composers who have a close affiliation with the cathedral. The repertoire, much of which is previously unrecorded, is expertly directed by Robert Sharpe.
 
The compilation begins with a splendid setting of the Eucharist by David Briggs. It is quite clear, particularly when the Gloria gets under way, that this is a setting written by a virtuoso organist - and an increasingly productive composer. There are strong hints of the French organ school – particularly Vierne and Litaize – which is dealt with beautifully in the hands of Christopher Gray. The choir sound is clear and crisp, though my immediate impression is that one or two more boys are needed to match the forces of the lower parts.
 
Lannanta Carol is a clever and unusual little piece for organ and upper voices. The treble sound is buoyant and pure, my only tiny criticism being that whilst very clear diction is highly commendable, the rolled ‘Rs’ are slightly overdone for a recording.
 
The first of two pieces by Russell Pascoe, Lo, How a Rose e’re blooming is a beautifully crafted carol for a cappella choir. The ensemble is excellent with nice blend and control from the lower parts. However, the performance is tainted by a slightly sharp treble line in places.
 
The Missa Triueriensis is tailored perfectly to the needs of the choir and acoustic, incorporating all sorts of influences - Jonathan Harvey in the Benedictus? - with more than a nod to the Tudor period. The Gloria particularly is given an exciting and snappy performance; the choir is clearly at home singing a cappella. The ethereal Salve Regina is quite Tavener-esque. Again one or two more trebles would make the climaxes even more exciting.
 
The Briggs Truro Service is another roller-coaster ride for all concerned. The beginning of the Magnificat is a wonderful hybrid of Stanford in G on speed and Howells fifty years beyond his time. Again, there is plenty to keep the organist busy, and the choir evidently enjoys Briggs’ music. And why wouldn’t they? It’s superb! The sustained and lush Nunc Dimittis oozes Howells and languishes in the space handsomely.
 
The Comeau Truro Service by comparison is rather more restrained but by no means any less creative. Interesting threads of ideas pervade the music carefully reflecting the meaning of the text. The composer alludes to Debussy and Messiaen in the CD sleeve-notes. I would add Kenneth Leighton to that list too. The treble top B flat - B flat being a particularly resonant note in Truro Cathedral - at the end of each Gloria is a real treble tester and comes off beautifully. Comeau’s responses are also an homage to Leighton – neat, slick and executed in a necessarily tight and decisive way. Watts’ Cradle Song is Comeau’s last contribution to the disc, and has a particularly personal association with the conductor – a commission by the Choral Scholars as a Christening gift for an addition to the Sharpe family. Cunning juxtapositions of two, then three flat/sharp key signatures represent the additional kindred.
 
The collection finishes appropriately with the second Pascoe piece, Pader an Arleth – a beautifully serene and moving setting of the Lord’s Prayer. The piece wallows delightfully in the building and dies away to nothing, allowing the listener to reflect upon a thoroughly enjoyable and praiseworthy recording.
 
Max Kenworthy
 

 



 


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