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Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
A Year at Ely
The Choir of Ely Cathedral/Paul Trepte
Edmund Aldhouse and Alex Berry (organ)
rec. Ely Cathedral, 10-13 February 2014
Texts and English translations included
REGENT REGCD441 [75:00]

There can be few more noble sights than that of the spires of Ely Cathedral rising above the fens, especially on clear and frosty days. It would be hard to deny that it is one of the most beautiful of English cathedrals, with a very special character of its own. On the basis of this disc as well as hearing them in the flesh it would be similarly hard to deny that the Cathedral Choir is amongst the best in England. Better still, under Paul Trepte they have shown an admirable enthusiasm for music out of the normal run. Earlier discs of church music by John Anmer, Arthur Wills and Arthur Sullivan all explored unusual but rewarding repertoire.

The present disc is one of a series from Regent in which the contents follow the progress of the church year from, in this case, Advent to Christ the King. The choice of music is perhaps less adventurous than I had hoped for but there are many real gems here, and even if Stanford's three Latin motets are familiar ground there should always be room for performances as good as these which capture the sheer exultation of the music to perfection. S.S. Wesley's "Ascribe unto the Lord" is another familiar choice, but again this confident and idiomatic performance is a very welcome inclusion.

Less familiar works include a delightful and imaginative arrangement of "Away in a manger" by Pat Brandon, a jazz musician from Ely, and music written for Ely by Ben Parry and Francis Grier. Despite the discipline of following the church year the various items are chosen so that the disc can be listened to as a whole with pleasure. That pleasure is compounded by excellent notes on the music and the choir, by the full sung texts - with translations where needed - and by an excellent recording quality which gives the listener a very real impression of being present at a service in the Cathedral. This disc would certainly be an admirable souvenir of a visit of Ely, but more important it deserves inclusion in any representative collection of recordings by English Cathedral choirs.

John Sheppard

Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012)
Out of your sleep [1:45]
William James KIRKPATRICK (1838-1921)
Away in a manger (arr. Pat Brandon) [5:30]
Samuel Sebastian WESLEY (1810-1876)
Ascribe unto the Lord [13:30]
Charles WOOD (1866-1926)
Nunc dimittis in B flat [3:09]
Ben PARRY (b.1965)
Prayer [6:30]
Thomas TOMKINS (1572-1656)
When David heard [5:10]
Patrick HADLEY (1899-1973)
My beloved spake [3:13]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Laudate pueri Op. 39 No. 2 [4:02]
Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924)
Coelos ascendit hodie [2:07]
Beati quorum via [3:39]
Justorum animae [3:20]
Cedric Thorpe DAVIE (1913-1983)
Come, Holy Ghost, the maker [4:57]
Matthew MARTIN (b.1976)
A Hymn to St Ethelreda [3:28]
Herbert SUMSION (1899-1995)
Fear not, O land [6:33]
Francis GRIER (b.1955)
Death be not proud [4:39]
John RUTTER (b.1945)
O clap your hands [3:21]