Reviews

GMCD 7109 – Ave Verum, Favourite Parish Anthems

Clare College Chapel Choir, Timothy Brown – Director

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High Performance Review Volume 13 Number 1 Spring 1996

This beautiful CD contains 23 short anthems. The first 13 of these, with the exception of Purcell’s Thou Knowest Lord, come from the English church’s first century. Composers include such relative unknowns-but-to-specialists Adrian Batten, Richard Farrant and John Munday, while William Byrd is represented by three of his church works. “Big” names include Bach (Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring), Mozart (the supernal Ave Verum), Franck (the well-known Panis Angelicus) and Elgar (the not-well-known Ave Verum). Along the way are also such composers as Samuel Sebastion Wesley, grandson of Methodist Charles Wesley, and not to be overlooked, Thomas Tallis.
Were it not for the fact that all 23 anthems are superlatively performed in astonishingly rich sonics, one might tend to overlook what is after all a miscellaneous collection perhaps most interesting to specialists – But do not overlook this disc.
Not only is the music meltingly beautiful, but it is performed with the greatest attention to authenticity in terms of pitch and projection. Nothing could be more suitable for this music than the acoustics of Clare College Chapel, where the recording took place in 1991. And the Clare College Chapel Choir is a superb university ensemble, molded with the greatest care by the well-known early music expert Timothy Brown.
If you are looking for something unusual for your collection, and moreover something incredibly moving, this disc is for you. One need not be religious to appreciate the sometimes profound and sometimes sweet expressions of faith by these many and varied composers.
It is truly a lovely collection.
TW