Music and Vision homepage

CD Review


The Three Choirs - PRCD 907

Cathedral Choirs of Gloucester,
Hereford and Worcester

Priory Records PRCD 907

DDD   Stereo    Total time: 74'36

John Sanders: The Reproaches
Herbert Brewer: Prevent us, O Lord
Herbert Howells: O pray for the peace of Jerusalem
Herbert Sumsion: Magnificat in G
Herbert Sumsion: Nunc Dimittis in G
John Taverner: Dum transisset Sabbatum
Anton Bruckner: Antiphon
Anton Bruckner: Locus iste
Anton Bruckner: Ecce Sacerdos
Franz Liszt: Gloria (Messe Choralis)
Louis Vierne: Kyrie (Messe Solennelle)
Jean Langlais: Benedictus (Messe Solennelle)
Paul Drayton: Ecce Ancilla Domini
Charles H.H. Parry: I was glad
Thomas Tomkins: Magnificat (Fifth Service)
Robert Parsons: Nunc Dimittis (Great Service)

Recorded by Paul Crichton and Neil Collier at Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester Cathedrals, 1987 - 1998

Worcester Cathedral and the Malvern Hills

Download realplayer G2
The aural illustrations
in this article use a proprietory
RealNetworks format. To listen,
please download realplayer G2.

The idea behind this compilation is excellent: these three choirs have long been associated, so juggling tracks to produce a sound picture of each of them over a ten-year period, two of them under previous organists, has value in the perspective it projects. The bearing is on repertoire, which now generally liberates us from the worst excesses of hallowed custom.

Under John Sanders, Gloucester in 1987 put to disc his own subtly impressive setting of The Reproaches (click here to listen), with Howells' serene music for O pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The same choir under David Briggs turns to extracts from Vierne and Langlais Mass settings (click to listen to part of the Langlais) from which the heightened sense of drama peculiar to large ecclesiastical spaces is quite spectacular.

Hereford under Roy Massey sing Herbert Sumsion's graceful setting of the evening canticles in G and gives very good voice to the grandiloquence of Parry's I was glad before veering off the beaten path with Taverner's Dum transisset Sabbatum and displaying a hard-edged tone to which this tightly-knit polyphony responds. (Click here to listen.) Paul Drayton's sleek Ecce Ancilla Domini (click here to listen) is at the opposite corner with a glittering obbligato from the organ backing the voices' preoccupation with a simple tune and some chromatic interplay.

Worcester has two groups, the first from Donald Hunt's tenure with Bruckner motets and the Gloria from Liszt's Missa Choralis (click here to listen), both stern and glorious, and the other directed by Hunt's successor, Adrian Lucas, in classic cathedral repertory - canticles by Tomkins and Parsons. (Click to listen to an extract from the Parsons.) The subtleties of varied textures and their integration into the whole picture is well maintained.


 Copyright © Basil Ramsey, June 23rd 1999

<< Music & Vision homepage             More CD reviews >>