Reflection - Choral Music from Clare College, Cambridge

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Ave Verum [3:26]

John SHEPPARD (1515-1559) In Pace [4:58]

Thomas ATTWOOD (1765-1838) Come Holy Ghost [4:35]

Thomas TALLIS (1505-1585) O nata lux [1:45]

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Ave Verum [2:54]

Richard FARRANT (1525-1580) Lord for thy tender mercies sake [2:03]

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring [5:50]

Robert PARSONS (1530-1570) Ave Maria [5:33]

John GOSS (1800-1880) O Saviour of the World [3:24]
Richard DERING (1580-1630) Jesus decus angelicum [3:46]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Thou Knowest Lord [2:47]
Thomas TALLIS If ye love me [2:15]

John GOSS O Taste and See [4:17]
William BYRD (1543-1623) Ave Verum Corpus [4:01]
César FRANCK (1822-1890) Panis Angelicus [3:14]
Richard DERING O vos omnes [4:12]
Christopher TYE (1505-1572) Gives almes of thy goods [2:01]
Thomas CAMPION (1567-1620) Never weather beaten sail [1:56]
William BYRD O Lord Give Ear [3:03]
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge/Timothy Brown
rec. no details supplied

Recently I gave a warm welcome to another Heritage CD, featuring these artists in a programme of Tudor polyphony. On this disc, which I presume again consists of reissued material, the musical offerings range more widely, though Tudor music is once again the backbone of the programme. Indeed, five of the pieces are included on both discs. Whether or not the same recordings have been used is impossible to tell in the absence of any information about the recordings themselves, but collectors should note the duplication.
It’s the Tudor repertoire that strikes me as the best feature of this present collection. That’s not to imply that the quality of the performances varies. On the contrary, the singing is consistently fine whatever music the choir is singing. But the later music is less interesting, I find. The items by Attwood and Goss are pretty dull, to be truthful, even when as well-presented as is here the case. Others may like Franck’s rather treacly Panis Angelicus more than I do – and I don’t care at all for the phrasing adopted by the tenor soloist here, which is about the only technical blemish I could detect in the entire programme. Elgar’s Ave verum is dutiful rather than inspired as a piece of music.
But the pieces by Byrd, Parsons, Sheppard and Tallis are all superbly crafted and Timothy Brown and his choir turn in immaculate performances.
The documentation accompanying the disc is pretty basic. No clues are given as to when or where the recordings were made – I suspect they were set down in the early 1990s - and it seems discourteous not to name the organist – or organists, perhaps – involved in some of the pieces.

John Quinn

Immaculate performances though the repertoire is of uneven quality.
See also review by John Sheppard