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Hyperion Records

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St Paulís Cathedral, the proposed new high altar (1948) by Reginald Kirby
Track(s) taken from CDA68058
Recording details: May 2013
St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jonathan Freeman-Attwood
Engineered by Martin Haskell
Release date: August 2014
Total duration: 8 minutes 25 seconds

'It's thrilling to hear much-loved works by Stanford and Walmisley so well sung, together with less familiar pieces by Alan Gray, Michael Tippett and Charles Wood. Andrew Carwood and the St Paul's Cathedral Choir pay scrupulous attention to the tiniest of details, so that every word and note come across as something precious and sacred. The wonderfully colourful accompaniments of organist Simon Johnson are, by turns, both dramatic and lyrical. This is choral singing at its finest; in every way, listening to this glorious CD is a heavenly experience' (Gramophone) » More

'St Paul's Cathedral Choir gives us here a really fine and outstandingly sung collection of canticles, some of them quite familiar and others decidedly not. In addition, 'canticles' does not refer only to the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis; we also hear settings of the Benedicite, the Te Deum and the Jubilate' (International Record Review) » More

Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in F minor
composer
publishedin 1912; SATB SATB
author of text
Magnificat: Luke 1: 46-55; Nunc dimittis: Luke 2: 29-32

Introduction
Stanford resigned from Trinity after disagreements about his attendance in May 1892 and was succeeded in 1893 by Alan Gray (1855–1935). Originally a very tall lawyer (he stood over 6'6"), he turned his attention to music, including study with EG Monk of York Minster, and became Director of Music at Wellington College in 1883. During 1892 his main rival for the Trinity post was Thomas Tertius Noble who was frustrated by Gray’s appointment which he attributed to Stanford changing his initial enthusiasm.

Gray wrote a number of canticle settings and anthems as well as some orchestral cantatas, including Easter Ode (1892), Arethusa (1892), The Legend of the Rock Buoy Bell (1896) and A Song of Redemption (1898). The ultra-critical Edward Elgar did not hold back on his view of Gray’s attempts at large-scale writing:

I had a good rehearsal at Leeds with the chorus but it makes me, an artist, sick to see that fool Gray allowed as long to rehearse his blasted rot as I am who produce with all its many faults an attempt at something like a ‘work’ … (Letter Edward Elgar to A J Jaeger, 29 August 1898)

His Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in F minor (published in 1912) is, however, a masterpiece. Scored for double SATB choir it is a dramatic work with, at times, remarkable quasi-orchestral gestures. It is also one of the very few canticle settings both to start and end in a minor key.

from notes by Andrew Carwood © 2014

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