The Choir of Birmingham Cathedral, Marcus Huxley - After The Sabbath

Published Friday 17th February 2017
The Choir of Birmingham Cathedral, Marcus Huxley - After The Sabbath
The Choir of Birmingham Cathedral, Marcus Huxley - After The Sabbath

STYLE: Choral
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 164466-25548
LABEL: Regent REGCD490

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

When I started submitting reviews back in the days when Cross Rhythms appeared only in print I never expected to write what I am about to: this recording was inspired by a collaboration between Tony Iommi, lead guitarist of Black Sabbath, the Dean of Birmingham and the Cathedral Choir which resulted in the download-only track "How Good It Is", inspired by Psalm 133. If you want to know more I recommend a look at the Birmingham Cathedral website [] The CD under review has no direct input by Mr Iommi other than the punning title but instead gives us an enjoyable collection of anthems for the Church's year, including three special commissions, each here receiving their debut recording. 'After The Sabbath' also marks the swan song of director of music Marcus Huxley who retires in 2017 after 31 years and he can be very pleased with the outcome. We open with two Tudor pieces: "Hosanna To The Son Of David" by Thomas Weelkes and "Dum Transisset Sabbatum" by John Taverner followed by quite a jump to "Ding Dong! Merrily On High" in a sprightly arrangement by Stuart Nicholson. These three give us a good idea of what to expect in the following 16 works: all are well sung by the different sections of the choir (men, boys and girls separately and in combination and with some accompanied by David Hardie on the organ) and collectively the programme does indeed cover the liturgical year albeit with a somewhat scattergun effect. The first recording of Huxley's arrangement of "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross" is well worth hearing and the other debuts, a Nunc dimittis by Anthony le Fleming and Bryan Kelly's Birmingham setting for "O Clap Your Hands" are also good. The longest work is Edward Bairstow's "The Lamentations" at just over 10 minutes although it did not seem too long when I was listening which indeed is a fair summary of my response to the album as a whole: the 73 minutes flew by in what is a most enjoyable and proficient release.

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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