Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum, Simon Bell - Our Lady Queen Of Peace

Published Wednesday 7th February 2018
Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum, Simon Bell - Our Lady Queen Of Peace
Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum, Simon Bell  - Our Lady Queen Of Peace

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 168637-26572
LABEL: Regent REGCD510
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1

This product is currently not available from Cross Rhythms Direct


Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Tewkesbury Abbey is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and 15th August is traditionally associated with the Feast of the Assumption, for which the music presented on this recording is selected. At this point I must make my usual disclaimer: my understanding of Christian doctrine respects Mary the Mother of Jesus without seeing the need to offer her praise or prayers thus while I can and did enjoy the music on this CD I would not want to sing it myself. Sermon over. Feast days in the Abbey's liturgical calendar are typically celebrated by two major services: a Eucharist and Solemn Evensong, and this recording includes the major musical items for both of these services. Jonathan Dove's virtuosic setting of the Missa Brevis is the centrepiece of the morning Eucharist, together with a rare recording of Marcel Dupré's "Ave Maria" for treble voices, and Francis Poulenc's hymn of praise to the Virgin, "Salve Regina". Evensong gives us all the main musical parts of the service, with introit, responses, psalm, canticles, anthem, and - befitting a celebration on a Feast Day - a setting of Te Deum. It features the first recording of "Emmanuel" by Philip Moore - which includes an extensive part for a distant semi-chorus here sung by the girls of Dean Close School Chamber Choir. The disc is brought to a crescendo with organist Carleton Etherington pulling out all the stops in a powerful performance of Flor Peeters' major solo organ work "Toccata, Fugue et Hymne sur Ave Maris Stella". While this brings the programme to a triumphant conclusion it almost obscures the excellence of what has gone before with the Schola Cantorum giving the best performance I have heard from them so far. While I have misgivings about the doctrine behind the content I have no reservations whatsoever about applauding the performers.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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