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Choral textures

An anniversary CD by an English cathedral choir welcomed by

Seashore    AMP 01

Poscimur: By the waters.. © 2002 Poscimur

Poscimur means 'we are called to serve' and is the name adopted by this English Cathedral choir, formed in 1991 by Cathie Shore, its musical director, drawing members from over the UK to its Kent base, and preparing about ten recitals each year. The issue of this CD marks their tenth anniversary, and it is a very welcome and encouraging addition to recordings of English church music.

If there is a theme running through this recital, it might be that of Gloucester. There are two pieces by 'dear old' Herbert Sumsion (as he was often described by pupils and admirers, for I was not old enough to know him as 'young Bertie'!), a fine composer who was organist at Gloucester Cathedral from 1928 for forty years. Included here is his setting of Psalm 107 (They that go down to the sea in ships) and a first recording of Psalm 137, By the waters of Babylon, written in 1983 when he was eighty four, and having the most beautifully gentle opening [listen -- track 9, 0:01-0:57].

The organist in all the recordings is Michael Bell who, after many years at Dartford Parish Church is now organist of St Nicholas, Chislehurst. Sumsion alone should make you want to acquire this very committed recital. He died in 1995, having been a great gain through his long life to English church music.

Also with Gloucester connection is Herbert Howells, another long lived master of choral textures, whose Like as the hart follows Charles Villiers Stanford's O for a closer walk with God and his student Charles Wood, who succeeded Stanford as Professor at Cambridge, and is represented with his moving setting of O Thou the central orb. There is also John Ireland's Greater love hath no man, a neat performance of John Stainer's God so loved the world, and a sturdy setting St John's vision by Edgar Bainton, a pupil of both Stanford and Wood, whom we lost to the Australians.

The other Gloucester link is John Sanders, who succeeded Sumsion at the Cathedral and is thankfully still there. His piece The Firmament, written for Birmingham Cathedral to celebrate the Millennium, sets Joseph Addison's Ode and a group of Psalm verses. Perhaps it is a pity that time for two other English pieces is taken by Mendelssohn's Hear my Prayer, but it is a warm and pleasant performance.

Copyright © 11 October 2003 Patric Standford, Wakefield, UK


Poscimur - By The Waters ...

AMP 01 DDD Stereo 70'08" 2001 Seashore Recordings, Daxcroft, 77 Newstead Road, Lee, London SE12 0TB, UK

Poscimur; Cathie Shore, conductor; Michael Bell, organ

Morley: Nolo mortem peccatoris; Ireland: Greater love; Stanford: O for a closer walk with God; Wood: O thou, the central orb; Howells: Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks; Stainer: God so loved the world; Sumsion: They that go down to the sea in ships; Mendelssohn: Hear my prayer; Sumsion: By the waters of Babylon; Sanders: The Firmament; Bainton: And I saw a new heaven

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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Saturday series of shorter CD reviews