Organ & Choral CDs October 2018

CHRISTMAS WITH SONORO
SONORO  Michael Higgins, Organ,  Neil Ferris, Conductor
RESONUS RES10226  59’08

It is easy to become jaded by the number of Christmas releases but here is a CD that has much to recommend. An interesting selection of contemporary pieces and later 20th Century works is interspersed by some fresh arrangements by the organist Michael Higgins of traditional carols.

 

SING LEVY DEW
ST CATHERINE’S GIRLS’ CHOIR, CAMBRIDGE, Edward Wickham, Director
RESONUS RES10221  65’41

Celebrating their 10th anniversary the St Catherine’s Girls present a lovely programme of secular settings for upper voices. Suites of songs by Jonathan Dove, Howard Skempton, Richard Rodney Bennett and Sally Beamish lead up to Britten’s Friday Afternoons. This final set will prove to be nostalgic for many of us who remember singing them in our early years, with the eerie Old Abram Brown bringing this recording to a satisfying conclusion.

 

LE COR MELODIQUE – MELODIES, VOCALISES & CHANTS – GOUNOD, MEIFRED & GALLAY
ANNEKE SCOTT, horn   STEVEN DEVINE , piano
RESONUS RES10228 75’57

This unusual release brings a programme of French 19th Century music for horn and piano. Alongside original compositions for both natural and piston horns are period arrangements of popular Schubert melodies including Ave Maria. A pleasant change and an interesting document of the technical development of this instrument.

HENRI MULET – COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS
FRIEDHELM FLAMME, organ of Stiftskirche St Anastasius & St Innocentius, Bad Gandersheim
CPO 555 040-2 (2CDs) 87’58

CPO continue to issue useful and enjoyable recordings documenting the organ repertoire. Here the works of French organist-composer Henri Mulet are presented in fine performances by Friedhelm Flamme. The familiar Tue s Petra concludes the first CD which features the complete Esquisses Byzantines and CD concludes with the popular Carillon-Sortie. Much of this music was unknown to me and deserves to be more widely heard.

 

OWAIN PARK – CHORAL WORKS
CHOIR OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, Conductor Stephen Layton
HYPERION CDA68191  76’00

Two releases from Hyperion present the ancient and the modern. The first is a wonderful collection of recent works by Bristol-born Owain Park. Despite having not yet reached the age of 30 his is a growing reputation with a number of notable works for voices already being performed. An interesting introduction in the sleeve notes by Park’s former composition tutor, John Rutter, is included. I think it is fair to say that the listener should not expect this music to sound too similar to his tutor’s. There is much to enjoy here.

 

GUILLAUME DE MACHAUT – THE GENTLE PHYSICIAN
THE ORLANDO CONSORT
HYPERION CDA68206  59’34

This CD takes us into a sound world that is very different from most choral offerings. Known to us now for his Messe de Notre Dame, Machaut was primarily a writer and musician concerned with courtly love. The accompanying booklet provides useful background and technical insights into what for many will be unfamiliar territory. For all attracted to early music or simply wishing to explore something different this recording will be of great interest.

 

THE UNKNOWN TRAVELLER
FIERI CONSORT
FIERI RECORDS  002TUT

Most of this CD presents Musica Transalpina, an anthology of 16th/17th Century Italian madrigals that had been adapted to make them more accessible to an English audience. As a compete contrast the second part features the four movements of Ben Rowarth’s Short walk of a madman, recent settings in contemporary style of poems by e.e. cummings. To me these are the more interesting works on this album.

SP

 

 

 

 

 

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