The Choir of Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin - A Year At Saint Patrick's

Published Thursday 5th October 2017
The Choir of Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin - A Year At Saint Patrick's
The Choir of Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin  - A Year At Saint Patrick's

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Regent REGCD504

This product is currently not available from Cross Rhythms Direct

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This ninth release in Regent's 'A Year At...' series visits Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin - the National Cathedral of Ireland. This rarely-recorded choir is one of Ireland's greatest musical treasures, with the country's only choir school, founded in 1432. It is an all-male choir (boys and men) and easily stands comparison with any from the mainland. The programme follows the church year from Advent ("Creator Of The Stars Of Night") to Remembrance Sunday (with a debut recording of Ernest Dines' setting of the "Nunc Dimitis"). I am not an Anglican and my home church does not follow the full church calendar but we do like Christmas and Easter so I am particularly interested in what is offered us here. Christmas is represented by "A Babe Is Born" by William Matthias closely followed by Epiphany and a splendid arrangement of "We Three Kings" by the choir's director Stuart Nicholson, here given its premiere recording. In all honesty this will not drive out the traditional version by John Henry Hopkins Jr although church choirs might enjoy tackling it. Easter is marked by the American Shaker melody "Lord Of The Dance" popularized by Sydney Carter and here arranged by Nicholson in another debut recording. Events specific to St Patrick's include the Patronal Festival (that's St Patrick's Day to the rest of us) here marked with "I Bind Unto Myself Today", arranged by Charles Villiers Stamford from the Petrie Collection of Irish Music, and then a surprise - and a nice one too - Philip Moore's "All Wisdom Cometh From The Lord" that marks the Birth of Swift. Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver's Travels and other fine works of satire) was Dean of Saint Patrick's from 1713 to 1745 and is remembered there every year at the Sunday evensong closest to 18th October, the anniversary of his death - and not a lot of people know that. As a whole the collection has 14 pieces and runs to an hour and a quarter. The singing is top quality and well captured by producer Gary Cole. There is enough that is unusual to capture the attention of choral singers and enough that is popular to please those who enjoy traditional choral singing.

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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