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alternatively MSR Classics


He is Risen!
HoSANNA, Loud Hosanna [2:43]
Ride on! Ride on in majesty [2:27]
All glory, laud and honour [2.32]
Ah, Holy Jesus [3:10]
Go to dark Gethsemane [2:13]
Beneath the cross of Jesus [3:00]
When I survey the wondrous cross [2:37]
O sacred head, now wounded [2:52]
Throned upon the awful tree [1:53]
Were you there? [5:04]
Hail, thee, festival day [3:48]
Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands [2:41]
The strife is o’er [2:02]
Come ye faithful, raise the strain [1:33]
O sons and daughters, let us sing [2:44]
Good Christians all, rejoice and sing [2:44]
Because you live, O Christ [2:36]
Christ is alive! [2:00]
Christ the Lord is risen today [2:18]
The Easter Day with joy was bright [2:09]
The day of resurrection [2:13]
Thine is the glory [2:55]
Jesus Christ is risen today [3:03]
William Neil (John Jay Hopkins Memorial Organ)
rec. The National Presbyterian Church, Washington DC. No date given
MSR CLASSICS MS1165 [60:26]


Experience Classicsonline

This has to be the type of CD every working organist dreads. It’s a compilation of hymns, all played without the relevant words. The purpose? To help out those churches which want to maintain a musical tradition but which cannot call upon a competent organist to play Sunday by Sunday. Proponents of such delights will say these discs are a wonderful innovation and will help keep a musical tradition alive. Critics will say they threaten the jobs of organists as unscrupulous clergy will act to save cash and dispense with the services of a professional. A dilemma, of course, and one which cannot be easily solved.

But what of this disc? It’s certainly innovative and displays the complexities and possibilities of the famed Aeolian-Skinner organ at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington DC. William Neil is an accomplished organist, revered for his solo performances and also for his work with the Washington-based National Symphony Orchestra. On this disc, he uses the large organ to maximum effect, drawing on a wide range of tonal colours. Each hymn is performed competently, often robustly, and would do considerable justice to the leading of congregational hymn singing.

The hymns in question are mainly based around the liturgy of Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Day, although many hymns will be sung throughout the Christian year. Of particular note are is Teschner’s powerful tune sung to the English words All Glory, Laud and Honour. There’s also an intense accompaniment for the Passion Chorale – O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.

Quite whether this is something a lover of church music would purchase is questionable. Why have the music without the soul-searching words? On the other hand, these may be hymns you might like to belt out on your own or with a small group in the privacy of your own home. It could be the modern-day equivalent of the Victorian parlour song.

Glyn Mon Hughes



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