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The organ music that breaks up the choral recital has not the certainty of touch displayed by the anthems, where Wood's craftsmanship is impeccable and his range considerable. The most interesting piece is the Fugue in G minor, which starts in a docile 5/4 but achieves an eloquence that eventually needs everything the All Saints tuba stop can give it [listen -- track 18, 4:11-5:05]. The choir, to which for many years I belonged, is vibrant in tone and firm as a rock under the direction of Geoffrey Webber. The college chapel is long and narrow, without the acoustic generosity for ideal recording. The first CD was made in High Wycombe parish church; its companion has migrated to Margaret Street in London, where the organ is in better shape and the lofty church gives the choir all the radiance it deserves. O thou the central orb is one of Wood's grandest creations, Parryesque or Elgarian in its sweep, and can aptly display the choir's strengths [listen -- track 16, 0:00-1:07].

Copyright © 12 February 2003 Robert Anderson, London, UK


The Anthems of Charles Wood - Volume II

PRCD 779 DDD Stereo 74'39" 2002 Priory Records Ltd

The Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge; Gavin Roberts, organ; Timothy Kennedy, organ; Geoffrey Webber, director

How dazzling fair; Once He came in blessing; I will arise; Prelude: Psalm XII; Bow down thine ear; Try me, O God; Father, all-holy; Prelude: Song of Symeon; Oculi omnium; Hail, gladdening light; Summer ended; Out of the deep; Prelude: Psalm CXXIV; View me, Lord; Christ who knows all his sheep; O thou the central orb; Prelude in G minor; Fugue in G minor; Great Lord of Lords; Never weather-beaten sail; Glory and honour and laud




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