The Choir of St Chad's, Shrewsbury - New Songs of Celebration

Published Tuesday 4th March 2014
The Choir of St Chad's, Shrewsbury - New Songs of Celebration
The Choir of St Chad's, Shrewsbury  - New Songs of Celebration

STYLE: Choral
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Regent SCSCD002

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

This release, produced and engineered by Gary Cole, is thoroughly interesting and most enjoyable. St Chad's is the civic church of Shrewsbury, meaning it is the host for town celebrations and commemorations but unlike many cathedrals it does not have a choir school or a professional choir. However, other than a few wobbles at the top end from the Girl's Choir we get 16 near-flawless performances. The title promises us "New Songs of Celebration" and the content does not disappoint. All but three of the pieces are by living composers and only the late Edward Elgar does not have a connection with Shrewsbury. However as a son of Worcester Elgar was at least a neighbour and his "The Spirit Of The Lord Is Upon Me" from 'The Apostles' sits nicely within the programme. The other composers represented on this disc are new to me. All, as I say, have a Shrewsbury connection and there are some interesting stories in the CD booklet that give a context. Rather than give a list of relatively unknown names I will instead applaud David Leeke the Director of Music and Liturgy at St Chad's who also wrote the short and sweet motet "A New Commandment" , his wife Kathryn Burningham who founded the St Chad's Girls' Choir that is heard on some of the songs on this disc, and the Assistant Director of Music, Richard Walker, who is our organist on this recital as well as being the composer of "When Christ Was Born", a most enjoyable setting of a 15th century text. Any listener with a taste for contemporary choral music will find much to appreciate on this disc and choir leaders will find it a useful resource to extend their repertoire.

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