Music and Vision homepage


<<  -- 3 --  Robert Hugill    IMAGINATIVE PROGRAMME


The disc closes with Cecilia McDowall's excellent St Martin's Magnificat with its spicy harmonies and rhythms [listen -- track 15, 0:07-1:19], Arvo Pärt's Littlemore Tractus and Philip Moore's gentle, song-like anthem Through the day thy love hast spared us [listen -- track 17, 0:01-1:08]. The choir gave the first performance of the Pärt in 2001 at Littlemore church. The title refers to the text of the piece, which comes from a sermon preached at Littlemore church by John Henry Newman just before he was received into the Roman Catholic Church. Pärt's piece juxtaposes the calm homophony of the choir with a more mobile organ part. Though their performance could be said to be definitive, I would have liked the organ to have had a little more prominence in the choral passages.

The choir sing to an impressive standard and Vaughan Williams's 'Psalm 23' features some lovely solo singing. But inevitably with such a wide range of material not everything is perfect. Just occasionally the early items lack the crispness of delivery which the choir generally brings to this repertoire. In Howells' Like as the Hart I would have liked a more relaxed sound, a better blend of voices, though the musicianship displayed by the choristers is still to a high standard.

This disc has many attractive moments and it makes a fine showcase for the talents of the choir of St Martin-in-the-Fields and for its place in the church's work. But the programme has been selected and organised in a way which is potentially off-putting for people who have no association with St Martins.

Copyright © 5 September 2004 Robert Hugill, London UK


The Spirit of St Martin's

Karuna 114 Stereo NEW RELEASE 66'00" 2004 Karuna Records

The Choir of St Martin-in-the-Fields; Nicholas Danks, director; David Hirst, organ; Mark McGrath, organ (Organ Scholar 2002/2003, Howells only)

Handel (1685-1759): The King shall rejoice; HCL Stocks (1884-1956): Breathe on me, breath of God; Nicholas Danks: (chant for) Psalm 137; Robert Walker (born 1946): (chant for) Psalm 90; Paul Stubbings (born 1969): Gloria and Agnus Dei (Missa Stella Splendens); Purcell (1659-1695): I was glad; Tallis (1505-1585): Loquebantur variis linguis; Vaughan Williams (1872-1958): Psalm 23; Spiritual: Were you there when they crucified my Lord (arr Annalise Roy); Richard Peat: An Intimation; Stanford (1852-1924): Caelos Ascendit Hodie; Howells (1892-1983): Like as the hart; Paul Stubbings: Victory is ours; Cecilia McDowall (born 1951): St Martin's Magnificat; Arvo Pärt (born 1935): Littlemore Tractus; Philip Moore (born 1943): Through the day thy love hast spared us



 << Music & Vision home      Recent CD reviews       Villa Lobos >>

Download a free realplayer 

For help listening to the sound extracts here,
please refer to our questions & answers page.