One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation


absolutely thrilling


immediacy and spontaneity


Schumann Lieder


24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs


‘Box of Delights.’


J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue


GERNSHEIM Quartets
a most welcome issue


I enjoyed it tremendously


the finest traditions of the house


music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message


ground-breaking, winning release


Charpentier
screams quality


Surprise of the month


English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Bob CHILCOTT (b. 1955)
St John Passion (2013)
Laurie Ashworth (soprano); Ed Lyon (tenor - Evangelist); Darren Jeffery (bass-baritone – Pilate); Neal Davies (bass – Christ); Jonathan Vaughn (organ)
Wells Cathedral Oratorio Society; Wells Cathedral Voluntary Choir; Wells Cathedral Choir
Instrumental Ensemble/Matthew Owens
rec. May 2014, Wells Cathedral, Somerset, UK
English texts included
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD412 [67:46]

Bob Chilcott's St John Passion dates from 2013. When John Quinn reviewed this recording on its first appearance in 2015, he described its structure and background admirably, so I don't have anything to add to that: just my quiet words of praise for the work and this recording of it.

We have long known Chilcott as one of the most accessible of contemporary composers for choirs. Memorable melodies and lovely harmonisations seem to flow from his pen with ease. However, we haven't seen much of him as a dramatist, and it is that which we get an insight into here. His Passion setting is as direct and communicative as those of Bach, whose unignorable influence Chilcott nods to through having a tenor Evangelist and bass Christ, accompanied by their own group of instruments so as to create their own particular halo of sound around each one. Ed Lyon makes for a slightly strident Evangelist but Neal Davies' Christ is always warm and noble.

At the heart of the Passion are four Meditations, setting older English poems. These are very beautiful, serving their meditative purpose perfectly. Two are for chorus alone, but Christ, my Beloved and Jesus, my leman both have prominent roles for a solo soprano - the beatific voice of Laurie Ashworth here - with the choir intensifying the mood appropriately.

However, the dramatic elements come furthest to the front at the start of Part Two, as they arrive in Pilate's Judgement Hall, with a cello ostinato that cranks up the tension like a film soundtrack and the use of the chorus that is direct and gripping. This adds a real sense of urgency to the remainder of the text, and Chilcott’s use of the solo cello to keen over the agony of Christ is very effective for the remainder of the work.

The instrumentation is mostly pretty sparing, with brass band providing the bulk of the accompaniment, with timpani, organ, viola and cello adding colour and drama. I also found the hymns most moving and, as all hymns should be, eminently singable, with warm, lovely melodies and a spiritual resonance in line with their texts. The whole thing bears the stamp of a master craftsman, so if you want to try something a little different this Easter, a Passion that isn't Bach, then you can investigate this one with total confidence.

Simon Thompson
 
Previous review: John Quinn



 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger