Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

A Song of Farewell. Music of Mourning and Consolation
Orlando GIBBONS (1583-1625) arr. Percy DEARMER (1867-1936) Drop, Drop, Slow Tears [2:00]
Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) A Litany: Drop, Drop, Slow Tears [2:00]
Robert WHITE (c 1538-1574) Christe, qui lux es et dies (I) [4:29]
James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) A Child’s Prayer [4:12]
John SHEPPARD (c 1515-1550) In manus tuas (I) [4:05]
Jonathan DOVE (b. 1959) Into Thy Hands [8:14]
Thomas MORLEY (1557/8–1602) Funeral Sentences [10:16]
Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) They are at rest [3:31]
Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Requiem [24:02]
Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Lord, let me know mine end (from Songs of Farewell) [11:42]
Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh
rec. 8-10 November 2009, Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral. DDD
Original texts and English translations included
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD281 [75:56]

Experience Classicsonline


 
 
Not long ago Paul McCreesh launched the collaboration between his new Winged Lion label and Signum Classics with a magnificent recording of the Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts (review). This follow-up release treats the theme of death in a very different way and on a much smaller, more intimate scale.
 
The centrepiece of the recital is the luminously beautiful Requiem of Herbert Howells. The remainder of the programme has been chosen with discerning perception and it will be noted that that there are some intelligent – and contrasting – pairings; the settings by Gibbons and Walton of the same text, for instance, and the pieces by Sheppard and Jonathan Dove, even though these are not settings of identical words. I think, too, that it was an excellent idea to finish not with the Howells, which might have been the obvious thing to do but, rather, to place Parry’s marvellous setting of verses from Psalm 39 as a wonderful coda, not just to the Howells but to everything else that we’ve heard before it. Indeed, this is one recital disc that demands to be heard from start to finish as a sequence.
 
The Gibbons piece is given a wonderful, seamless performance. McCreesh’s approach to the Walton setting is similarly dedicated though some may feel it’s just a bit on the slow side. Certainly, it’s taken as slowly as I can recall, bringing out an extra degree of reflection in Walton’s music. The performance is exquisitely moulded and the spacious treatment means that details such as the dissonance on the word “feet” (0:40) are very telling.
 
Robert White’s Christe, qui lux es et dies is not concerned with death or mourning as such; it’s a hymn for the office of Compline. However, the words fit very well with the concept of McCreesh’s programme, which is nicely outlined in his booklet interview with Greg Skidmore. The chant verses in this performance seemed just a fraction on the slow side to me – of course they have to fit with the pacing of the polyphonic verses – but it’s still a very satisfying performance. Sheppard’s In manus tuas, which is, like the White, beautifully shaped also sounded expansive but when I checked against some other performances in my collection I found that McCreesh’s pacing is on a par with others.
 
The other Renaissance piece in the programme is Morley’s Funeral Sentences. These have often been sung at British royal funerals, as McCreesh reminds us. The words, an assortment of scriptural texts, are magnificent, full of meaning, and they have a timeless quality to them which is emphasised by this present performance. The dignity and simplicity of Morley’s music makes a telling effect and the male voice textures – altos on the top line – enhance the atmosphere greatly.
 
Among the more recent compositions, James MacMillan’s A Child’s Prayer – his eloquent response to the infamous Dunblane massacre - is a piece I’ve heard on several previous occasions. Like so much of his vocal music it’s superbly imagined for voices and the piece is very moving. This performance is superb and conveys the air of innocence that MacMillan’s piece wears despite its musical sophistication. I don’t recall hearing Jonathan Dove’s Into Thy Hands before but I was deeply impressed by it. It’s a continuous setting of two prayers by St Edmund of Abingdon (1175-1240). The first is set to slow, reflective music containing some wonderful harmonies to illuminate key words. The second prayer begins, I think, at 3:30 and here the music becomes more complex. On reaching the passage that starts with the words “Lord Jesus Christ, mercifully grant me that the rest of my pilgrimage” (5:38) Dove has the basses singing “Into Thy hands” as a subdued ostinato while the rest of the choir sings the remaining text over it to music that is quietly radiant. This is a very fine, memorable piece that I wanted to play again as soon as I’d first heard it and Paul McCreesh and his singers give it a dedicated performance.
 
Their account of the Howells also comes into the dedicated category. Until now the Hyperion recording by the Corydon Singers – the work’s première recording, I think - has been the benchmark for me. This new one is on the same exalted level. In the opening movement, ‘Salvator Mundi’ the lines are beautifully blended and the choir’s firm, rounded but expertly integrated bass line is noteworthy. In ‘Requiem Aeternam’ (I), one of several movements in which we hear material subsequently refashioned in the glorious Hymnus Paradisi, every step in Howells’s luminous harmonic progressions is beautifully laid out. Here, as elsewhere, there is great tonal beauty in the singing and the balance, maintenance of line and pacing are all ideal. The concluding movement, ’I heard a voice from heaven’, another precursor of Hymnus Paradisi, is movingly done. There’s a warm baritone solo towards the end – all solos in this performance are splendidly taken – and the gentle, radiant ending is deeply satisfying. Paul McCreesh directs a flawless, exquisitely shaped and sung account of this serene masterpiece. However, please don’t think that flawless perfection means an antiseptic performance. On the contrary, the engagement of the singers is very evident.
 
As a coda we hear Parry’s wonderful double choir motet, the last of his Songs of Farewell. This performance is superbly controlled. McCreesh makes excellent use of the rests, which are such an important feature of Parry’s writing. It’s a very demanding piece, not least because there are so many changes of pace and mood, making it challenging to sustain the musical argument. Suffice to say that this performance is fully worthy of Parry’s inspired choral writing.
 
Some years ago John Rutter demonstrated in several recordings with his Cambridge Singers that the acoustic of Ely Cathedral’s Lady Chapel is ideal for repertoire and forces such as this. On this occasion producer Adrian Peacock and balance engineer Neil Hutchinson have achieved a superb recording which captures the warm, intimate ambience of the venue and which achieves a fine clarity at the same time. The documentation is excellent and is beautifully produced.
 
This is a disc of great distinction.
 
John Quinn
 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.