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Track(s) taken from CDA67641

O God, enfold me in the sun

1967; commissioned by the church of St Philip and St James, York
author of text

Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens (conductor), David Bednall (organ)
Recording details: June 2007
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: May 2008
Total duration: 3 minutes 48 seconds

Cover artwork: The Guardian (c1930) by Arild Rosenkrantz (1870-1964)
Courtesy of Peter Nahum at The Leicester Galleries, London / © Bente Arendrup, Denmark


'The more I hear of Wells Cathedral Choir the more impressed I am. Matthew Owens has certainly brought these choristers to the very peak of excellence; it ranks as probably the finest English cathedral choir at the moment … the two large-scale works are delivered with great power and breadth, David Bednall's organ accompaniments as full of colour and pizzazz as one could want. It all adds up to stunning performances of outstanding music … Leighton's memory is well served in this superb release' (Gramophone)

'The quintissential English cathedral ambience evoked by the choir, organ and acoustic of Wells is well captured by Hyperion and perfectly serves the unmistakable muscular language of Kenneth Leighton's music' (Choir & Organ)

'This CD takes its title from an Epiphany sequence, and includes fine music for organ and a set of morning canticles never before recorded. Wells Cathedral Choir is in cracking form' (The Observer)

'Two things stand out in this new release featuring a selection of Kenneth Leighton's sacred choral music: the inclusion of three first-time recordings and the glorious, energetic performances of the Wells Cathedral Choir … the return of Heber's hymn [The World's Desire] brings both the work and the disc to a close in such a spine-tinglingly awesome fashion that the listener is compelled to hit the 'play button' again almost immediately' (International Record Review)

'The full-throated, passionate performances by the Wells singers for Hyperion are highly persuasive' (Classical Music)
O God, enfold me in the sun, commissioned by the church of St Philip and St James, York, was composed in 1967. Setting words by Jacqueline Froom, the music bounds along pulsing with light in response to the poet’s images. Leighton’s skill in word-setting is exemplified in the first verse when the appeal for protection from the night is heard both as a fortissimo cry from the heart, then immediately again, mezzo piano and fearfully, as if analogous to the gathering shadows, the music seeming to take on a twilight hue. In the final pages the main tune returns sung by the men, then in turn by altos and trebles leading to a sonorous culmination.

from notes by Andrew Burn © 2008

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