Winchester College Chapel Choir, Malcolm Archer - Deep River

Published Tuesday 29th January 2013
Winchester College Chapel Choir, Malcolm Archer - Deep River
Winchester College Chapel Choir, Malcolm Archer - Deep River

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Regent REGCD405

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Winchester College is one of England's leading public schools and its music department is as good as any. Indeed it is better to compare the Chapel Choir to a cathedral choir than to a typical school choir and in Malcolm Archer they have a more than capable Director of Chapel Music. This release is themed for the penitential church season of Lent with a varied selection of music ranging from the 16th to 20th centuries. The programme is framed around Michael Tippett's arrangements of five spirituals from his 'A Child Of Our Time' (1941). These are "Steal Away", "Nobody Knows", "Go Down, Moses", "O, By And By" and the title piece. While appreciating these spirituals in a choral arrangement this reviewer still prefers them sung solo but as part of a choral recital they do work very well indeed. In addition to Tippett's contribution we hear Antonio Lotti's "Crucifixus a 8", Maurice Durufle's lovely "Ubi Caritas" plus works by William Byrd, Henry Purcell and others. We have two hymns: "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross" to "Rockingham" and John Ireland's "My Song Is Love Unknown". We also hear an organ solo played by Jamal Sutton: Bach's Chorale Prelude "O Mensch, Bewein' Dein' Sunde Gross" (BWV 622). With a theme that leads us on the Way of the Cross we do not expect a foot-tapping recital that brings a smile to our face but we are given food for thought, with everything sung very well. The recording was made at the Chapel of Keble College, Oxford rather than Winchester College's own chapel, I guess for technical reasons. Acoustically we get a superb recording, produced and engineered by Andrew Post and as a mid-price issue with more than one hour's worth of music this is an easy recommendation.

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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