GMCD 7139 – This Worldes Joie

Scola Cantorum Oxford, Mark Shepherd – Conductor, David Goode – Organ

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Classic CD April 1998

This ebullient compendium of twentieth-century English choral music will be welcomed by those who fear for the Anglican church choral tradition. Taking its cue and title from Bax’s exquisitely angelic motet for unaccompanied choir, it offers persuasive proof that the abiding legacy of the Tudors – and of the first half of this century – is still very much alive and well. While Britten, Walton and Howells dominate, the worth of mark Shepherd’s anthology is its easy generosity in allying the old with the new.

Mark Blatchly’s beautiful and brittle prelude setting (like Howells before him) of Joseph Beaumont’s seventeenth-century text, The House of the mind offers clear evidence of continuity, while the sheer vitality elsewhere – Giles Swayne’s rhythmically alert Magnificat, Philip Moore’s engagingly intricate rondo, Salutatio Angelica – suggests significant progress in style.

Schola Cantorum, Oxford’s longest running chamber choir, is in fine form, eloquently responsive to Shepherd’s well apportioned conducting.

Recorded sound is warm and well balanced although booklet notes are disappointingly thin.
Michael Quinn