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Evensong for the Feast of the Dedication from Exeter Cathedral
Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Locus iste [3:28]
Philip RADCLIFFE (1905–1986) Versicles and Responses (1972) [1:25]
PLAINSONG: Office Hymn: Christ is made the sure foundation [3:16]
C.H.H. PARRY (1848–1918) Psalm 84 [3:45]

First Lesson: 1 Kings, chapter 8 vv 22-30 [2:46]
George DYSON (1883–1964) Magnificat in D (1907) [4:33]

Second Lesson: John, chapter 2 vv 13–22 [1:35]
George DYSON (1883–1964) Nunc dimittis in D (1907) [3:12]
Philip RADCLIFFE (1905–1986) Creed, Lesser Litany and Lord’s Prayer, Responses and Collects (1972) [7:01]
Edward BAIRSTOW (1874–1946) Blessed City, Heavenly Salem [10:42]

Prayers [3:26]
17th CENTURY GERMAN (1600–1700) Ye watchers and ye holy ones [3:40]
W.H. HARRIS (1883–1973) Flourish for an occasion (1937) [4:56]
Choir of Exeter Cathedral/Lucian Nethsingha
Paul Morgan (organ)
rec. January 1985, Exeter Cathedral. ADD

re-issue of ALPHA ACA 544
PRIORY PRAB112 [53:45]


Experience Classicsonline

Although a lifelong atheist, I have always enjoyed the celebration of Evensong, because it is so musical. This re-issue from the Abbey/Alpha catalogue is most welcome as a fine representation of that service.

Starting with a very English-sounding, but nonetheless solid, performance of Bruckner’s Locus iste we are in the Cathedral and immediately caught up in the ceremony. Just one nagging doubt: the boys’ voices feel somehow wrong for this composer’s motets. 

Philip Radcliffe was born the son of a housemaster at Charterhouse. He educated there, attending King’s College, Cambridge, in 1924 as a Classical Scholar. King’s was to become his lifelong home; he never left it for more than a few weeks at a time. He always composed, referring to his style as Vaughan-Brahms, but only a handful of his works were published. Radcliffe’s Versicles and Responses are beautifully laid out for choir, in a straightforward way, with a slight tinge of modernism. 

Parry’s 84th Psalm is the usual chant, then comes the first real meat of the service – Dyson’s Evening Canticles in D. Dyson was a Yorkshireman, the son of a blacksmith, who studied with Stanford and then, with the aid of the Mendelssohn Scholarship, in Italy, Vienna and Berlin. During the Great War he became celebrated for his training pamphlet on grenade warfare, which he produced as a grenadier officer of the 99th Infantry Brigade. In 1920 he became known as a composer when his Three Rhapsodies for string quartet were chosen for publication under the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust’s publication scheme. He also became a professor at the Royal College Music. His sturdy set of Evening Canticles in D - one of two sets he composed - makes a strong impression here.

After the rest of the responses we have Edward Bairstow’s superb Blessed City, Heavenly Salem, a large-scale anthem with organ. Another Yorkshireman, he studied at Oxford, was apprenticed to Frederick Bridge for six years at Westminster Abbey and held many positions as organist, especially at York Minster. His compositions are almost exclusively for the Church, including 29 anthems, settings of the Morning, Communion and Evening services – many of these are still performed today – and an Organ Sonata in E. 

The service ends with W.H. Harris’s splendid Flourish for an occasion, written for the Coronation of 1937. A Londoner by birth, at 16 he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music. He was incumbent at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, having been head-hunted for the position, for almost three decades. During that time he wrote much choral and organ music, larger pieces for the Three Choirs Festival and even achieved two premičres at the London Proms. He retired in 1961.


The 1985 recording has been well remastered, the feeling of the Cathedral is fully realised, and the balance between the spoken items and the musical ones gives a real feel of the service. Whether you want a reminder of the service or simply want to hear some fine British music within the context of the liturgy this disk is a must.


Full praise to Priory for making some of Harry Mudd’s fine recordings available to us once again.


Bob Briggs




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