Reviews

GMCD 7118 – Music for a Great Cathedral

The Choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Christopher Dearnley & Barry Rose – Directors

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Choir and Organ November/December 1997

CD releases of material originally available on LP can be variable in quality. Fortunately, these performances from 20 years or so ago have a good spread of worthy singing. Even so, we are not on level ground: there are dips and rises. Looking up, therefore, brings to view that delightful setting of Christ, whose glory fills the skies by Thomas Armstrong, and Gibbons’ Glorious and powerful God (both Canterbury) ; at much the same altitude (and mindful of the acoustic),St Paul’s choir sings with due gravity both Battishill’s O Lord, look down from heaven and Greene’s Lord, let me know mine end. Much else is to be found, keeping mostly within the cathedral repertory. When these records were made, the long post war climb towards new standards was in progress. Having attained them, other ingredients were becoming potent in the search for maximum sales. Professional music was now a product to be marketed from much the same standpoint as a fitted kitchen. Fortunately there has remained a steady demand for good LP repertoire remastered on CD. These two discs are good examples. Both contain groups of organ pieces of fairly staid character. Canterbury can claim the brightest choice with Alan Ridout’s lean and punchy Jacob and the Angel.

Choir and Organ November/December 1997

Reviewed together with Guild GMCD 7116.

CD releases of material originally available on LP can be variable in quality. Fortunately, these performances from 20 years or so ago have a good spread of worthy singing. Even so, we are not on level ground: there are dips and rises. Looking up, therefore, brings to view that delightful setting of Christ, whose glory fills the skies by Thomas Armstrong, and Gibbons’ Glorious and powerful God (both Canterbury) ; at much the same altitude (and mindful of the acoustic),St Paul’s choir sings with due gravity both Battishill’s O Lord, look down from heaven and Greene’s Lord, let me know mine end. Much else is to be found, keeping mostly within the cathedral repertory. When these records were made, the long post war climb towards new standards was in progress. Having attained them, other ingredients were becoming potent in the search for maximum sales. Professional music was now a product to be marketed from much the same standpoint as a fitted kitchen. Fortunately there has remained a steady demand for good LP repertoire remastered on CD. These two discs are good examples. Both contain groups of organ pieces of fairly staid character. Canterbury can claim the brightest choice with Alan Ridout’s lean and punchy Jacob and the Angel.