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Deep Within: Music of Arundel and Brighton in Lourdes
Michael Carver (keyboard)
Musicians from the Arundel & Brighton Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes/Anne Ward
rec. 2017, Holy Cross Hospital Chapel, Haslemere, Surrey
HERALD HAVPCD404 [77.52]

The Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, which covers Sussex and Surrey, was created in 1965, formed out what was then the Diocese of Southwark. The annual Lourdes pilgrimage is a major event in the diocese, normally in late July and early August, involving a large number of sick and their families, a small army of helpers, many of whom are students, seminarians and sixth formers. People – and not only the sick - return each year, finding spiritual strength and comfort in their journey.

The new recording is the seventh released, and consists mainly of very well performed modern works, including devotional pieces for which ‘hymn’ is perhaps too simple a term. ‘Meditative chant’ might be a better description of a piece such as Kerygma. Overall, the dominant mood is devotional with an emphasis on faith as solace and comfort. Nothing jars.

The pieces by Mozart and Sibelius are both modern arrangements. Ave Verum is tastefully arranged by Phillip Legge, with organ accompaniment. My Soul Was Glad sets words of St. Bernadette, paraphrased by Adam Simon, to an organ arrangement of Finlandia.

It is clear from the performances that these musicians are both rehearsed and disciplined – and presumably carefully selected. Soloists emerge from the choir, and there are fine voices among them. A particular joy – not always found in British professional choirs – is clear diction throughout (the accompanying texts are almost redundant) and an absence of the strangulated vowels heard too often in our liturgical (and other) recordings and performances.

A small band of instruments (oboe, two flutes, clarinet, trumpet, two violins, cello, double bass, Celtic harp and guitar) accompanies the works, though sometimes the organ is solo. The acoustic is generous and production values are high.

It is difficult, perhaps to specify an audience for this disc, outside the diocese concerned, but it would be a pity to so limit its value, it provides such an accomplished introduction to interesting and consoling contemporary Catholic music.

Michael Wilkinson

David HAAS
Deep Within [6.07]
Lord, we come to you as we are [3.06]
David HAAS
You are mine [4.31]
Kerygma [5.04]
Holy is his name [5.21]
O Blessed are those [3.25]
Come to the Water [5.14]
Stephen DEAN
Father, if this cup [6.53]
James E. MOORE Jnr
Taste and See [6.30]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Ave Verum [2.50]
The Collegeville Composers Group
Live on in my love [3.59]
Bring forth the kingdom [2.42]
Ubi Caritas [3.13]
My soul was glad [ 2.54]
Gifts we bring [3.03]
Ernest SANDS
May the choirs of angels [5.45]
Dancing the song [2.23]
Sing a new Church [3.53]

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