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Glory of Ely Cathedral Edward ELGAR
(1857 - 1934) Imperial March [5.28] (2) Frank BRIDGE (1879 - 1941) Adagio
in E [5.57] (2) Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852
- 1924) Te Deum in C [7.48] (1, 2, 4); Jubilate in C [3.22]
(1, 2, 4) Edward BAIRSTOW (1874 - 1946) Lamentation
[8.06] (1, 2, 4) STANFORD Te Deum in A [8.26]
(1, 2, 4); Jubilate in A [3.39] (1, 2, 4) Thomas Tertius NOBLE (1867- 1953)
Magnificat in A [4.12] (1, 2, 4); Nunc Dimittis in A [3.05]
(1, 2, 4) Marcel DUPRE (1886 - 1971) Chorale
and Fugue in F sharp minor, Op 57 [6.31] (2) Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865 - 1936)
Fantaisie, Op. 110 [15.56] (3)
Choir of Ely Cathedral (1); Jeremy Filsell (organ) (2); Paul Trepte
(organ) (3); Paul Trepte (conductor) (4)
rec. July 1991 (Elgar and Bridge), May 1991 (Stanford, Bairstow,
Noble), 1992 (Dupré), January 1992 (Glazunov)
HERITAGE HTGCD 219 [73.31]
This disc is a compilation of tracks originally recorded at
Ely in the early 1990s. It contains items from choral and organ
recitals put together here under the name of The Glory of
Ely, the intention being to showcase the choir - in fine
fettle under Paul Trepte - and the organ here played by Jeremy
Filsell. An additional item of interest is that since the recording
was made, the organ has been further upgraded by Harrison and
Harrison. At the time of recording, Jeremy Filsell was just
coming to the end of his stint as organist at Ely.
Filsell opens proceedings with Elgar's Imperial March,
a suitably impressive start. Elgar didn't write much for organ
and in fact this was an arrangement, done by George Martin (organist
at St. Paul's Cathedral) at the behest of Elgar's publishers.
This is followed by Frank Bridge's Adagio in E. This
is one of his more conventional pieces which goes from quiet
Then comes the choral segment, with music by Stanford, Bairstow
and Noble. These come from a 1991 disc. Stanford's services
show his skill at choral writing for choir and his ability to
show them off to their best. The music suits Ely Cathedral Choir
admirably and they give a confident and vibrant performance.
Balance is generally good, though there are a couple of moments
when individual voices come to the fore. The lower voices are
strong with few hints of the weakness that can bedevil Cathedral
Bairstow's Lamentation was written in 1942 but it breathes
the same air as Stanford's music. Bairstow became organist at
York Minster in 1913 and remained there until his death in 1946.
It sets passages from Lamentations in Anglican chant, with more
lyrical outbursts of Jerusalem occurring as a refrain.
Thomas Tertius Noble studied with Stanford and became his assistant
at Trinity College. Noble was at Ely for a few years before
moving to York. Then he moved on to St. Thomas's in New York
where he established the choir school. His Magnificat and Nunc
Dimittis in A were written whilst Noble was at York and dedicated
to the choir there. Still recognisably related to the idiom
of Stanford, Noble's harmonic language includes interesting
touches not found in Stanford.
We then move back to the organ and are transported to France.
Jeremy Filsell's recording of Dupré's Chorale and Fugue comes
from a disc of Dupré's music. Filsell and the Ely Organ make
a good case for Dupré's plainchant-inflected, virtuosic music.
In fact the Ely Organ (a Harrison and Harrison instrument dating
from 1908 with some older pipe-work) works very well in French
Finally we have Glazunov's Fantaisie, played by
Paul Trepte. This isn't so much of a lurch as you might think
as Glazunov didn't write organ music for the Russian church;
Orthodox services were always unaccompanied. So Glazunov was
influenced by Bach, Liszt and Dupré, who in fact edited all
of Glazunov's organ pieces.
The CD booklet contains short introductions to the performers
and the composers, but no texts.
There is a slightly awkward mix of pieces on this disc. Though
they are intelligently performed, I am not sure whether everyone
will be inclined to this mix. The fine performances ensure that
the interest is more than local, even if the programming is
a bit indigestible. So, if you are drawn to the English choral
tradition then this is highly attractive. Robert Hugill
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