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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66519
Recording details: July 1991
St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: February 1992
Total duration: 7 minutes 29 seconds

'Spellbinding performances of some of the great classics of the repertoire. Buy this one; you'll enjoy every moment' (Organists' Review)

Viri Galilaei
First line:
Alleluya. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven
composer
1988; for Richard Harries
author of text
Proper of the Mass on Ascension Day
author of text
See the Conqueror mounts in triumph

Other recordings available for download
Westminster Abbey Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor), Robert Quinney (organ), Ashley Grote (organ)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The contemporary English composer Patrick Gowers is best known for his music for television and films, but his large output also contains several sacred choral works, of which the Ascensiontide anthem Viri Galilaei is the best known. Gowers paints a vividly dramatic and emotional picture of the Ascension of Jesus: one can almost visualize the scene as the dumbfounded apostles gaze up in amazement while high-pitched swirling organ figurations and ethereal overlapping choral ‘Alleluias’ convey the literal other-worldliness of what they are witnessing. Gradually the chordal writing for the choir assumes a more solid, less disembodied character, and the music becomes punchier and more rhythmic (‘God is gone up with a merry noise’). The build-up continues inexorably, leading to a thrilling glissando on the full organ and an elated verse of Christopher Wordsworth’s Ascension hymn ‘See the Conqueror mounts in triumph’, underpinned by a jazzy, propulsive organ part and dramatically interspersed with forceful ‘Alleluias’ and the swirling organ figurations heard at the start, but now louder and more prominent. After this, the music gradually subsides into the mystical mood of the opening and eventually disappears into nothing.

from notes by James O'Donnell © 2008


Other albums featuring this work
'The Feast of Ascension at Westminster Abbey' (CDA67680)
The Feast of Ascension at Westminster Abbey

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