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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67454
Recording details: July 2003
Westminster Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: May 2004
Total duration: 6 minutes 30 seconds

'Baker entices some of the most wonderful singing from his choir here while Robert Quinney and Houssart positively revel in their virtuoso interplay. It almost goes without saying that Hyperion's recording captures the full effect of Maxwell Davies' astonishing writing' (Gramophone)

'I'd recommend this CD, strongly, to any music-lover who is moved by the sound of a choir and organ in a cathedral setting' (Fanfare, USA)

'Aisé mais jamais trivial, le sens mélodique de Maxwell Davies trouve un pouvoir de séduction naturel grâce au legato facile des garçons de Westminster, à leur homogénéité exemplaire, à leurs nuances toujours soutenues, déployées dans le Credo sur un large éventail de gris, jusqu'à l'anthracite du Crucifixus' (Diapason, France)

Veni Creator Spiritus
first performed on 15 February 2002
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The trudging, staccato tenor line at the opening of Davies’s organ piece Veni Creator Spiritus launches out over an even slower-moving bass pedal, until a striking counterpoint enters, almost insistently legato, in the upper (in fact alto) register. This slowly unfolding pattern stands in direct descent, not just from the Chorale Preludes of Sweelinck, via J S Bach and J G Walther, through to Flor Peeters, but conceivably (given the independence of the voices) the Bach Trio Sonata too. Stage by stage, in all three parts, elements of the Veni Creator tune are sifted; a decorated passage in 3/4 time emerges; and partway through the ensuing quaver section there are faint echoes of the dotted Scotch ‘snap’ rhythm which plays a major role in many of Davies’s secular works.

But most remarkable of all is a strikingly assertive statement of the adapted plainsong, presented as a wonderfully intense, galvanizing chordal or chorale sequence, registered on what can only be described as a thrilling Pleines Orgues; late in the piece, fading memories and fragments of the plainsong slowly evaporate in the upper register. The mood throughout is unostentatious and devotional.

Veni Creator Spiritus was written for Jo Savory in memory of Max’s cousin, Roger Walden, and was first performed by James Eaton at the organ of Rochester Cathedral on 15 February 2002.

from notes by Roderic Dunnett © 2004

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