'The Wells Cathedral Choir again shows its stuff—and it's glorious … because of this choir's sturdy, full-bodied singing, both exuberant and reverent, and its natural, sensible, unaffected phrasing and enunciation. Hymn lovers need no encouragement or further discussion; these inspiring texts and timeless tunes speak for themselves' (classicstoday.com)
The mixed voices of Wells Cathedral Choir, under their director Malcolm Archer, continue their survey of the rich heritage of music sung in the Anglican church in volume 5 of The English Hymn series. The 23 hymns on this CD focus on the themes of faith and assurance; their role is to inspire us, comfort us, teach us and enrich our lives.
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Hymns can do many things for us. They can be the marching song in our pilgrimage through life; they can inspire us, comfort us, teach us, challenge us. In all this they must be sufficiently near where we are to make contact with us, and just that much beyond us to take us forward. Some hymns do go wrong: they may ask us to pray for a constant sense of the presence of God, which in reality few of us are going to have, since ‘we live by faith and not by sight’; they may promise a happiness in this life that many of the greatest saints have lacked. But the greatest hymns do none of these. With huge variety, giving us constant surprises, they enrich our lives.
Alan Luff © 2004
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