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These reviews are of excellent CDs that wouldn't fit within the confines of the print magazine, but are no less worthy of your enjoyment. Don't miss the new DVD reviews either.
CD Reviews for Issue 364 (May 2013) of The Organ
The Cranmer Legacy
Benjamin Bloor (organ); Tom Hammond-Davies (director)
Regent REGCD389 (72:32 mins)
Recorded last year in celebration of the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer, this CD features some fairly unfamiliar music from the past century and demonstrates the inspiration composers continue to draw from the BCP. The idiom of the compositions here is by no means advanced but they clearly stand in the musical traditions of Anglican worship. The whole of Vaughan Williams’s Service is featured which includes the Responses and Ten Commandments (something hardly ever heard in churches these days) while two movements of Walford Davies’s Requiem (written in 1915 as an early response to the tragedy of the First World War) are composed in the form of Anglican chant. The two anthems are imaginative recent settings and the choir sings them with lyricism and due religious dignity.
The choir does not sing in its home church, but in the larger chapel of Exeter College just yards away, which provides more space in which the music can flourish. Consequently the choir bring an admirable sense of breadth to the evening canticles in the Service. There is also an air of mystery in the opening of the Kyrie, but at other times the rest of the Service is in danger of becoming amorphous – Vaughan Williams’s modal melodies and harmonies need more shape to prevent that from happening. A creditable recording for a non-professional choir overall though.
Sounds of Cranleigh – The Mander Organ of Cranleigh School
Works by J.S. Bach, Tomkins, Clérambault, Warlock, Elsa Barraine, Knut Nystedt, Cor Kint and Dan Locklair
Philip Scriven (organ)
Regent REGCD398 (78:50 mins)
The new Mander organ in the chapel of Cranleigh School (installed in 2011) is prized for the variety of registrations available from just 31 stops divided among two manual divisions and pedals.