MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Jonathan DOVE (b. 1959)
Bless the Lord, O my soul (2000)* [5:43]
Missa Brevis (2009)* [13:41]
I am the day (1999) [7:42]
Wellcome, all wonders in one sight! (1990) [5:10]
The Star-Song (2008)* [3:24]
The Three Kings (2000) [4:54]
Run, shepherds, run (2001)** [5:28]
Ecce beatam Lucem (1997)* [6:56]
In beauty may I walk (1998) [3:42]
Seek him that maketh the seven stars (1995)* [6:41]
Into thy hands (1996) [7:02]
**Wells Cathedral School Chapel Choir
Wells Cathedral Choir/Matthew Owens
*Jonathan Vaughn (organ)
rec. 3-4 June and 24-25 June 2009, The Cathedral Church of St. Andrew, Wells, Somerset. DDD
Original texts and English translations included
HYPERION CDA67768 [70:25]

Experience Classicsonline

Matthew Owens and his excellent Wells Cathedral choir are establishing a formidable reputation for performing and recording significant contemporary church music. Among the notable fruits of their partnership with Hyperion have been discs of music by Kenneth Leighton (review), William Mathias (review), and the late Geoffrey Burgon (review). Their latest offering, which was warmly welcomed by Brian Wilson in its download format, features the music of Jonathan Dove.

Dove is being increasingly well served on disc, most notably in the recent recording of his opera, Tobias and the Angel, which made such a strong impression on Robert Hugill (review). That opera dates from 1989 so itís an earlier work than any of the pieces on this present disc, which spans the period 1990-2009.

The most recent work on the programme is the Missa Brevis, which was written for the 2009 Cathedral Organistsí Association conference, which was held in Wells. The Mass, here receiving its first recording, was premiered at the conference by Matthew Owens and the Wells choir. A Missa Brevis is a very challenging format for a composer for a successful composition in this genre must make its mark artistically but must also be, by definition, concise. It seems to me that Jonathan Dove meets these criteria fully. His setting is an impressive one, including a Kyrie that rises from quiet, supplicatory beginnings to an anguished climax before sinking back again. The Gloria is an exciting, propulsive creation in which the choir is challenged especially by the need clearly to articulate the words at speed. The vigorous accompaniment drives the music along until, with thrilling open-throated pedal notes, the organ underpins the jubilant final bars. The Wells organ sounds superb at this point. By contrast the Agnus Dei is mostly subdued and prayerful. This is a mass setting which I hope will be taken up widely by other choirs.

The recital includes several Christmas pieces. Perhaps the best known is The Three Kings, which was written for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at Kingís College, Cambridge. Itís a most inventive and imaginative setting of words by Dorothy L Sayers. In complete contrast is the exuberant Run, shepherds, run. This is designed for audience participation Ė on this occasion the audience part is taken by Wells Cathedral School Chapel Choir. They deliver the audience parts expertly though I do wonder how well a genuine audience would cope with this teeming, energetic piece even with prior rehearsal. However, there are no co-ordination problems on this occasion and the piece is sung with impressive assurance. Itís huge fun!

Iím tremendously impressed by Ecce beatam Lucem, one of several pieces on the disc that Iíve heard before (review). As befits the text, the music is truly luminous in character. Dove builds the music patiently and expansively and creates a wonderful ambience thereby and when the central climax is reached (track 11, 3:29 Ė 4:04) itís a breathtaking and seemingly inevitable moment.

No less impressive is Seek him that maketh the seven stars in which, as so often in this programme, Doveís adroit ear for choral textures and his melodic invention are heard to very good advantage. The unaccompanied Into thy hands provides an eloquent and moving conclusion to the programme.

The whole programme is performed to the very highest standards by the Wells choir. The treble line mixes boy trebles and girl sopranos. They must have been taxed by the music on several occasions but you would never know it. The young singers perform with enviable assurance throughout and their tone is never less than full and pleasing. The Vicars Choral provide a fine and expert foundation to the choral tone. Really, this is an expert, committed choir caught in prime form. Clearly theyíve been the beneficiaries of top quality training by Matthew Owens. Jonathan Vaughn contributes superb organ accompaniments to several of the pieces, exploiting the resources of the Wells instrument to the full. Hyperionís engineers, who must be at home in the cathedral by now, have produced very fine sound which registers plenty of detail while setting the singers and the organ believably within the cathedralís acoustic.

This first rate disc can only enhance further the reputations of Wells Cathedral Choir and of Jonathan Dove.

John Quinn




















Error processing SSI file

Error processing SSI file