Winchester College Chapel Choir, Malcom Archer - The Winchester Tradition

Published Monday 26th July 2010
Winchester College Chapel Choir, Malcom Archer - The Winchester Tradition
Winchester College Chapel Choir, Malcom Archer - The Winchester Tradition

STYLE: Choral
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
LABEL: Regent REGCD331

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

My darling daughter does not spend words so freely as her father so, on her return from school she invariably describes her day with one of three words; "good", "horrid" or - most typically - "fine". And fine is an apt description of this CD. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it so the "horrid" label does not apply and, indeed, had I heard this as a concert performance I would have applauded politely or even warmly but at no point would I have cheered, not that one does tend to cheer at the end of a recital of church music. So fine it is then and there lies the disappointment because I really enjoyed Malcolm Archer's previous recording from Winchester, 'My Beloved Spake'. Most of the same ingredients are in place for this new recording; Malcolm Archer is still a top choral director, his choir still sing very well and Paul Provost is an excellent accompanist. Neither is there anything wrong with the quality of the actual recording as producer Gary Cole never lets us down. So what has changed? The subtitle of this CD is "Music By Composers Associated With Winchester College" and I suspect that this might be the problem. For the previous CD Dr Archer selected several personal favourites of mine and on this one he has not. Of course this is a horridly subjective way to review any collection but the fact of the matter is that I did not like it. I must repeat that the standards of musicianship are excellent and all the notes are in the right place but there is nothing here that makes me want to play it again. For the record, the composers are, in order of appearance, Sebastian Samuel Wesley, Thomas Weelkes, George Dyson, Malcolm Archer, Jeremiah Clarke, Raymond Humphrey, William Cole, and Paul Provost. There are six first recordings and I wish I liked them more.

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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