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AVAILABILITY Roberts Wesleyan College

My Eternal King – Hymns and Anthems
Jane Marshall (b. 1924) My Eternal King [5:23]
M. Thomas Cousins (b. 1914) Glorious, Everlasting [3:46]
Knut Nystedt (b. 1915) I Will Greatly Rejoice [1:54]
R.S. Thatcher (1888-1957) Come, ye Faithful [3:12]
John Stainer (1840-1901) God So Loved the World (fr. The Crucifixion) [3:38]
Henry Ley (1887-1962) The Strife is O’er [2:35]
Arr. William L. DAWSON Ain’a That Good News [1:46]
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) For All the Saints [4:36]
Philip Nicolai (1556-1608) arr. S. Drummond Wolf Halleluia, Let Praises Ring [6:27]
John Darwall (1784-1829) arr. Arthur Harris Rejoice, the Lord is King [3:33]
Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) arr. Hal Hopson Canon of Praise [3:50]
John Goss (1800-1880) Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven [6:36]
John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876) Holy, Holy, Holy [2:07]
Roger Williams Sing we our Praises
Arr. Virgil THOMSON My Shepherd will supply my need
Johann Cruger (1598-1662) Now Thank We All Our God [2:15]
John Ireland (1879-1962) My Song is Love Unknown [1:47]
Arr. John RUTTER How Firm a Foundation [3:14]
Carl Glaeser (1784-1829) arr. Lowell Mason O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing [2:24]
Leo Sowerby (1895-1968) arr. Stephen Shewan Come, Risen Lord [5:43]
Trad. Arr. Stephen Shewan Awake My Soul/Morning Has Broken [5:04]
Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) My Jesus, as Thou Wilt [3:29]
Roberts Wesleyan College Chorale; Roberts Wesleyan Brass Ensemble; Roberts Wesleyan Wind Ensemble; Paul Shewan (trumpet); Diane Maynard (organ); Mathew Curlee (organ); Anne Honeywell (organ); James Bobb (organ); Kevin Clarke (organ); Nelson Hill (conductor); Robert Shewan (conductor)
rec. Downtown United Presbyterian Church, Rochester, NY; Except Sowerby: First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lyons NY. no dates given.

The Roberts Wesleyan Chorale has long been famous, especially as part of the active musical scene in Rochester, New York. To record buyers they are probably best known for their series of recordings of the works of Harris, Hanson, Thomson, Sowerby and others. From 1968 to 2002 the Chorale was conducted by Robert Shewan. This new CD is in the way of a tribute to his tenure as well as an introduction to his successor, Dr. Robert Nelson, who conducts the first eight and the last of the tracks on this recording.
Robert Shewan was not only the conductor of the Chorale and chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Roberts Wesleyan but is the paterfamilias of a large musical family that frequently takes part in his recordings. His son, the composer Stephen Shewan is the best-known. This particular album does not contain the American classical works that are Mr. Shewan’s specialty, but rather a conspectus taken from a variety of concerts and some recordings. While a worthy tribute to its conductor the disc presents a mixed bag both in the way of performance and in the choice of hymns and other items recorded.
Shewan and the Chorale do well with traditional hymns such as Holy, Holy, Holy (Nicaea) and Now Thank we all our God (Nun Danket), and pretty well with  slightly more modern ones like My Song is Love Unknown or Rejoice, the Lord is King (Darwell’s 148th). The works from the Cathedral tradition are handled with less assurance. Sine Nomine is rather static and Praise My Soul doesn’t sound idiomatic, although the trumpet descant by Paul Shewan is well-played. The traditional American hymns are well-done and so is the Glaser. A major problem for the conductor is that he does not seem as comfortable with hymns as he is with concert works - they seem to draw less from him. At the same tine the Chorale has been trained to sing in a way that goes swimmingly in those same concert works but seems out of place for this repertoire. Perhaps Dr. Nelson can attend to this.
The soloists on this disc are uniformly good. Special mention must be made of one of the Shewan family, Paul, in his playing of the trumpet. Anne Honeywell also shines on the C.B. Fisk organ and indeed this organ is well suited to a program such as this.The acoustic of the church is at first a little off-putting but this feeling disappears. There are no program notes, only the texts for the hymns, and the disc seems to be only available from Roberts Wesleyan College. Those who are interested can obtain it from the Chorale’s own web-site or the College’s. While uneven as a hymn collection this disc is perfect for fans of Robert Shewan and the unique sound of the Chorale.
William Kreindler


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