Hyperion Records

Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in D minor
Besides Wesley, Thomas Attwood Walmisley (1814–1856) was the composer most instrumental in raising the tradition of English church music out of the mire into which it had sunk earlier in the nineteenth century. Walmisley’s exceptional abilities as choir trainer and organist led him to Cambridge in 1833, where he was appointed joint organist at Trinity and St John’s Colleges. He was elected Professor of Music at Cambridge in 1836. As a composer, Walmisley left to posterity a sizeable and varied corpus of works. However, with the exception of one isolated composition of pure genius, the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in D minor, his music has fallen into obscurity. Composed in 1855, this late work is the most mature of all Walmisley’s service settings. Though reminiscent of a Tudor faux bourdon setting in its construction, the adventurous harmonic language, expressive yet un-sentimental approach to text-setting, and the brilliance and independence of the organ-writing make it a most original and memorable Service.

from notes by Sarah Langdon 1987

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