STYLE: Choral RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 155035- LABEL: Regent REGCD441 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
This is the sixth English Cathedral Choir to take part in Regent's popular 'A Year At.' series, and is also the Ely Cathedral Choir's first recording on the label. As with the others in the series we get a selection of music charting a journey through the church's year as is it observed in the awe-inspiring surroundings of this historic building. The CD gives us a snapshot of the choir as it was at the time of the recording in February 2014 and under the direction of Paul Trepte it sounds most acceptable. Of course with boys being boys by now some of the trebles will be trebles no more as is the way with all choirs but then as the Ely Cathedral Choir has been in place since the mid-16th century the number of choristers that have come and gone must be large. This CD also gives us a summary of the musical life of a provincial cathedral taking us from Advent with Richard Rodney Bennett's "Out Of Your Sleep" to Remembrance Day with a first recording of Francis Grier's setting of John Donne's "Dearth Be Not Proud" and the Feast of Christ the King, here celebrated with John Rutter's popular "O Clap Your Hands". Other debut recordings are a jazzy setting of "Away In A Manger" by Pat Brandon that I enjoyed hearing but do not expect to be able to persuade a congregation to sing, a "Prayer" for Lent by Ben Parry, and "A Hymn For St Ethelreda" by Matthew Martin. Although Ethelreda is indeed the Patron Saint of Ely Cathedral this piece was written for St Ethelreda's Church at Ely Place in London. As well as the new we get old favourites by C V Stanford with his three motets "Beati Quorum Via", "Coelos Ascendit Hodie" and "Justorum Anime" along with "When David Heard" by the Tudor composer Thomas Tomkins, making it the oldest piece on the disc. Overall this is an interesting collection generally sung well and with good accompaniment by the two organists, Edmund Aldhouse and Alex Berry.
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