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

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



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

A Year at York
see end of review for track listing
The Choir of York Minster/Robert Sharpe
David Pipe (organ)
rec. York Minster, 12-13, 18-19 January 2011 DDD
Texts and English translations included
REGENT REGCD368 [76:54]

Experience Classicsonline


The idea behind this programme is a good one. The music traces the Church’s year, taking in all the important dates in the liturgical calendar - one piece for each - including one or two that are of particular significance to York itself. Thus we move from Advent (Naylor), through Epiphany (Carter), Easter (Francis Jackson), and Trinity (Stainer) to All Saints (Bullock) and All Souls (Gabriel Jackson). Along the way Alcuin of York is commemorated by Humphrey Clucas and St. William of York by John Taverner.
 
I’ve heard and admired several recordings that Robert Sharpe made while he was at Truro Cathedral but this is the first disc that I’ve heard since his move to York in 2008, though he’s made at least two previous recordings at York that have not come my way. York Minster has had both girl and boy choristers since 1997 and one or other section takes the treble line on a regular basis along with the Songmen, as the adult singers are styled. For this recording 18 boy trebles and twenty girls are listed along with four tenors and five each of basses and male altos. I am pretty sure that Robert Sharpe inherited a choir in good shape from his predecessor, Philip Moore. The York choir had a strong reputation during Moore’s time in office (1983-2008). On the evidence of this disc the choir continues to be in very good fettle under the Sharpe regime.
 
Robert Sharpe has chosen a programme of music that is packed with York connections - though there’s no narrow parochial sentiment in the choice; each piece more than justifies its place on merit. It would almost be quicker to list the pieces that don’t have a York association. Pride of place, as regards association, must go to the previous Organists of the Minster, Edward Bairstow (1913-1946), Francis Jackson (1946-1982) and Philip Moore. Between them they account for a staggering ninety-four years of service to the Minster, a truly remarkable stability. Andrew Carter was a Songman at the Minster but is, perhaps, better known - apart from his compositions - as the first conductor of the York Chapter House Choir, which he directed for 17 years. George Haynes is a current Songman, an alto, and sings on this CD. Richard Shephard was Headmaster of the York Minster School, which the choristers attend, for many years until 2004 and still works for the Minster. Edward Naylor almost gets into the list of Minster alumni too because his father was organist there between 1883 and 1897. Besides these links, a couple of other pieces were written for the York Minster choir. These are the pieces by Paul Comeau and Humphrey Clucas. As I say, there’s no parochialism in the selection: the Minster and its musicians have clearly inspired some fine music down the years.
 
Among the items that particularly impressed me was The Magi by Andrew Carter. This is a setting of words by Carter himself and I found it interesting and resourceful. It offers a welcome alternative to Cornelius’s too-ubiquitous The Three Kings and I hope other choirs will take it up. Paul Comeau lives and works in Cornwall and has written quite a lot of music for Truro Cathedral. No doubt this prompted Robert Sharpe to invite him to write for York. Audi coelum uses two echo singers and exploits the vast resonance of the Minster’s acoustic very imaginatively. I was very taken with Francis Jackson’s Easter piece, Alleluia, laudate pueri dominum. This double choir piece was written not for the Minster choir but for Andrew Carter and the Chapter House Choir and is described in the notes as being akin to “a fanfare greeting the Resurrection”. Though the piece is short it’s vital and blazing and the present performance has tremendous gusto. The thoughtful Clucas piece that follows, written for the Minster during the Philip Moore era, offers a good contrast with the exuberance of the Jackson. Gabriel Jackson’s Justorum animae closes the programme. This was new to me - it’s one of several works receiving its first recording - but it’s very typical of this composer in that it takes a wonderful, resonant text and cloaks it in luminous music, expertly written for voices. O sacrum convivium by George Haynes, a current member of the Minster choir, also demands a mention. This is an impressive piece, mainly devotional in tone but there’s good strength in the writing at ‘mens impletur gratia’.
 
Among the more standard repertoire, Stanford’s lovely Magnificat receives a splendid performance. I’ve always thought this is an appropriately feminine setting but I can’t readily recall hearing too many recordings in which the famous treble solo is sung by a girl soprano. Here, the task is entrusted to Isabel Suckling who is simply outstanding. Her voice is clear and pure and listening to her solo singing was a delight. The very first piece, Naylor’s dramatic, declamatory anthem, is delivered strongly and with great conviction by the choir though it seemed to me that once or twice the boy trebles were rather taxed by Naylor’s demanding writing. There’s a robust account of the Ascensiontide anthem by Philips while Tallis’s exquisite If ye love me is persuasively shaped.
 
The choir’s singing is very good and responsive throughout the programme; evidently they’ve been thoroughly prepared by Robert Sharpe. Most of the pieces are unaccompanied but where accompaniment is prescribed the Minster’s Assistant Director of Music, David Pipe, delivers the goods. York Minster is a huge building with an acoustic to match. The resonance and the sheer size of the acoustic is evident right from the start during the rests and dramatic pauses in the Naylor piece. The acoustic is a factor throughout the programme but I think the engineers have coped very well with it and the sound gives a realistic aural image of what this choir sounds like on their home turf. The excellent booklet notes incorporate comments on their respective pieces by several of the composers. One slight regret I have is that where a translation of a text is provided this follows the original rather than the two being placed side by side, which would be easier to follow.
 
Some forty years ago I had the good fortune to spend three years as an undergraduate in York. This CD made me nostalgic for one of Britain’s greatest historic cities and for the glorious Minster, which I still regard as the finest medieval church building in the country. However, it’s not nostalgia that makes me think this is a fine disc. The high standards of the music and the performances see to that. This programming concept is a very good one and I believe that further such recordings, from other cathedrals, may be in prospect. If they’re of a comparable standard they will be very welcome indeed.
 
John Quinn

Track listing
Edward Naylor (1867-1934)
Vox dicentes clama (1911) [8:20]
Paul COMEAU (b. 1958)
Audi coelum (2009)[4:45]
John JOUBERT (b. 1927)
There is no rose [2:24]
Andrew CARTER (b. 1939)
The Magi (2010) [3:35]
Richard SHEPHARD (b. 1949)
Nunc Dimittis in A (In memoriam Lionel Dakers) (2003) [1:57]
Philip MOORE (b. 1943)
Caedmon of Whitby’s First Hymn (1999) [2:21]
John BLOW (1649-1708)
Salvator mundi [3:27]
Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924)
Magnificat in G [4:05]
Sir Edward BAIRSTOW (1874-1946)
The Lamentation (as sung in York Minster) [7:53]
Francis JACKSON (b. 1917)
Alleluia, laudate pueri dominum (1971) [3:52]
Humphrey CLUCAS (b. 1941)
A Prayer of Alcuin of York [2:32]
Peter PHILIPS (1561-1628)
Ascendit Deus (1612) [2:33]
Thomas TALLIS (c. 1505-1585)
If ye love me [2:08]
Sir John STAINER (1840-1901)
I saw the Lord (1858) [7:28]
George HAYNES (b. 1989)
O sacrum convivium (2010) [4:39]
John TAVERNER (c. 1490-1545)
O Wilhelme pastor bone [3:17]
Howard SKEMPTON (b. 1947)
Ave Virgo sanctissima (2007) [2:33]
Richard DERING (c 1580-1630)
Factum est silentium [2:51]
Sir Ernest BULLOCK (1890-1979)
Give us the wings of faith [2:50]
Gabriel JACKSON (b. 1962)
Justorum animae (2009) [3:42]

 


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.