Durham Cathedral Choir Association

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This recording features highlights of the Consort’s nineteenth- and twentieth-century repertoire.Some of its is authentically sung by a mixed choir such as this; some of it was conceived for an all-male choir, such as Finzi’s Lo, the full, final sacrifice, a Walter Hussey commission for St Matthew’s, Northampton.

The programme opens and closes with extended and atypically Latin double-choir settings of Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, Stanford’s being composed in memory of Hubert Parry and bearing a sad dedication which is all too eloquent in view of the two composers’ long-standing disagreement. Wood’s Nunc dimittis is less ambitious in scope, but its block-choir eight-part writing gives it an atmosphere of grandeur and splendour (both Holst and Howells would exploit similar textures in setting the same words in the following decades).

For the rest, the music comes from continental Europe: Brahm’s magnificent setting of part of Psalm 51, scholarly yet passionate, and his serene (but canonically fascinating) Geistliches Lied; Rheinberger’s evocative evening hymn Abendlied, its text imbued with the resonance and emotion of the story of the road to Emmaus; Mendelsshon’s Hear my prayer (sung in its quaint metrical English version) needing neither introduction nor apology; Bruckner’s magisterial Ave Maria, intimate yet grand; and Grieg’s characteristic setting of the Marian hymn Ave maris stella, technically simple yet clearly and immediately permeated by the influence of Norwegian folksong. I would make special acknowledgement of Oxford University Press’ anthology European Sacred Music, edited by John Rutter, an invaluable publication which has served as both quarry and signpost.

© James Lancelot, 2006

Hear my prayer.mp3

Hear my Prayer

DCCA 0605

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Stanford Latin

Magnificat, Opus 164

Brahms

Schaffe in mir, Gott, Opus 29 No. 2

Rheinberger

Abendlied, Opus 69 No. 3

Brahms

Geistliches Lied, Opus 30

Finzi

Lo, the full, final sacrifice

Mendelssohn

Hear my prayer

Grieg

Ave maris stella

Bruckner

Ave Maria

Wood

Nunc dimittis in Bb