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Young composers in church, with BASIL RAMSEY

Priory    PRCD 676

The King of Glory. Newly commissioned anthems from St Marylebone. Copyright (c) 2000 Priory Records Ltd.


This type of enterprising recording linked to the commissioning of new church music provides considerable help for composers. Even so, I would be surprised if such a venture could attract reasonable record sales. If only it would, frankly for the stimulus young composers require to maintain a steady flow of music in the smaller genres..

Peter Barley, who directs the music at St Marylebone Parish Church opposite the Royal Academy of Music in London, knows well the responsibility of preserving a tradition of new music in the Church as much as elsewhere. Herein are collected recent anthems for this church and choir; the pleasing aspect of which is the required addition of an orchestral instrument to the accompaniment, thereby encouraging composers to experiment.

Another pleasing aspect of this venture is the opportunity for young composers to face the challenge of a medium beyond the usual. The organ itself demands understanding of its peculiarities as well as its specialities to avoid mayhem; and mixed voices dovetailed into the picture demands similar care to maintain balance.

That said, the ten young composers involved here have obviously solved all this to their own satisfaction. From this point on, our subjective impressions of these diverse styles are obviously to be regulated by our own experiences. My votes go to the Romanian Luminita Spinu's thoughtful setting of George Herbert's Let all the world in every corner sing [listen - track 8, 8:42-9:24], the English Ruth Byrchmore for her sensitive approach to graceful words from Ecclesiasticus, and Adam Gorb's choice of a dramatic text from the book of Revelation. He takes an appropriate musical stance, and also uses a speaker [listen - track 10, 3:52-4:27].

It is not clear if the ten works are published or to be published, but enquiry to Peter Barley at the Royal Academy of Music will answer that question.



Copyright © 27 September 2000 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK







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