Reviewed by Steven Whitehead
There has been a choir of men and boys at Lincoln for more than 600 years, who have in more recent years been augmented by a line of girl choristers and on occasion female choral scholars. On this recording, the latest addition to the Regent 'A Year At. . .' series, we get to hear the choir in all its glory ably recorded in the superb acoustic of the cathedral by producer Gary Cole. The format of the series takes us through the high days of the Anglican calendar with opportunity for some local colour. This allows the Director, Aric Prentice, to select material suitable for both the choir and the location and here he has done so with great aplomb. We travel from the 16th century to the 21st, beginning at Advent with a splendid version of William Byrd's "Vigilate" and closing with a celebration of the work of George Herbert, a Prebendary of the Cathedral, in Ralph Vaughan Williams' glorious setting of his words "Let all the world" from his "Five Mystical Songs". The programme includes the first recording of a 2010 commission by Lincoln Cathedral of "My Dearest Wish" based on words by a former Bishop of Lincoln, Edward King (1829-1910) set to music by Lincolnshire composer, and Classic FM's Composer in Residence for 2006-07, Patrick Hawes. While this will be of great interest to the locals the rest of the world could do worse than to hear this piece. Other recent works include original contributions from Bob Chilcott with "Thy Arising" for Easter, Judith Bingham's "Corpus Christi Carol" and arrangements by Mack Wilberg with his jolly "Ding! Dong! Merrily On High" (for Christmas of course) and Richard Lloyd with his beautiful take on the spiritual "Were You There?" for Passiontide. Another standout is Mark Blatchly's setting of "For The Fallen" for Remembrance Day which features some atmospheric trumpet work from RAF Sgt Tom Ringrose. Add some evergreen favourites from Felix Mendelssohn, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, Gerard Finzi, Charles Wood and Johannes Brahms and a lot of boxes get ticked. Taken collectively this is a wide ranging and thoroughly enjoyable collection well sung by an excellent choir and accompanied appropriately by Jeffrey Makinson on the organ. All who enjoy Anglican choral music will surely find much to appreciate.
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