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Track(s) taken from CDA67909

Wells Service

2010; commissioned by Wells Cathedral and first performed at Evensong by the Cathedral Choir and Jonathan Vaughn on 13 June 2010, Matthew Owens conducting
author of text
Cantate Domino: Psalm 98; Deus misereatur: Psalm 67

Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens (conductor), Jonathan Vaughn (organ)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: June 2012
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: August 2013
Total duration: 9 minutes 57 seconds

Cover artwork: Cornfield by Moonlight (1830) by Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'This excellent disc from Wells Cathedral Choir looks back over 15 years of Bingham's choral works … there's a frankness to the Wells choral sound that suits music that has nothing precious or twee about it. It creates an underlying muscularity, even in the glowing cluster-chords of Cantate Domino and foregrounds the texts that Bingham sets with Britten-like care … this collection is the most representative yet of the composer's functional, liturgical works' (Gramophone)

'The setting of Cantate Domino memorably commingles an anxious, questing quality with glimpses of certitude and placidity, a balance sensitively struck in this assured Wells Cathedral Choir performance … Our faith is a light is a luminescent setting highlighting the bright, gleaming quality of tone the Wells top line is currently producing. The Hyperion recording is atmospheric and expertly balanced. Recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Choral music is a sphere that welcomes the new. The Anglican (mainly) church is a leading source of new commissions for countless composers, among them Judith Bingham (b1952), who stands out not least because she spent her early career as a professional singer and knows the idiom. She favours rich, multilayered radiance, as heard in the two Wells service canticles—written for the excellent choir who perform here. Jonathan Vaughn provides spirited organ accompaniment and interludes. The lullaby setting of God be in my head, the abundant interpretation of Gerard Manley Hopkins's Harvest and the unexpectedness of the Bromley Missa brevis, written for an enlightened south London parish church, all play to Bingham's creative strengths' (The Observer)
The Wells Service began with a commission from Wells Cathedral for settings of the so-called alternative canticles for Anglican Evensong, Cantate Domino and Deus misereatur, Psalms 98 and 67 respectively. Familiar images of the psalmist’s harp influenced Bingham’s extensive use of spread chords and arpeggios in the organ part to Cantate Domino (‘O sing unto the Lord a new song’). The strategy creates multi-layered tonal and textural combinations of voices and instrument, carefully developed to reflect subtle shifts in the canticle’s text: extrovert jubilation here gives way to deep contemplation of God’s equanimity and mercy elsewhere. Deus misereatur (‘God be merciful unto us, and bless us’) grows out of anxiety, present in the composition’s harmonic ambiguity and breathless rhythmic insistence. The psalmist’s universal plea for mercy and enlightenment opens out into a confident song of praise, herald of something altogether more penitent and mysterious at ‘God shall bless us’ and for the doxology ‘Glory be to the Father’. The Wells Service was first performed by Wells Cathedral Choir, Jonathan Vaughn and Matthew Owens during Choral Evensong at Wells Cathedral on 13 June 2010.

from notes by Andrew Stewart © 2013

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