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Willan: In The Heavenly Kingdom / Edison, Et Al


Release Date: 05/16/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557734   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew LarkinJoseph Schnurr
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Anyone who's sung a Healey Willan anthem or motet or Mass knows and appreciates this composer's consummate mastery of vocal writing and, most importantly, his understanding of the unique possibilities of the "choral voice" for imparting the meaning of a text, giving impressionistic imagery to a phrase with just a bit of perfectly chosen color or texture or voicing. He has an exquisite sense of integrating melody with harmony so that every line sings like a melody, and at any given moment every note is crucial to the harmonic function and effect. Especially in his a cappella motets, the phrases--often irregular--breathe and flow naturally; and no one can say Willan didn't know how to
Read more construct great endings, even for his shortest, simplest pieces.


This fine recording gathers a wide range of Willan's church music, from the popular hymn-anthems on "Ye watchers and ye holy ones", "Picardy", and "O quanta qualia", to various shorter a cappella motets and longer accompanied ones, to the beautiful Missa brevis No. XI. With the anthem I looked, and behold a white cloud, for choir, tenor soloist, and organ, Willan provides a tasteful, tuneful, and eloquently expressive alternative to overwrought examples of the genre by more celebrated composers such as Stanford and Mendelssohn. With his Missa Sancti Johannis Baptistae (one of 14 Willan settings of the Missa brevis) Willan offers a perfect gem combining richly colored choral writing with clear, warmly sensitive explication of the texts, the technique owing at least something to Palestrina. Unlike many strictly functional Mass settings--and at seven minutes, this one is exceptionally functional!--this one imparts liturgical meaning while holding its listeners in thrall to its musical beauty. This was an excellent repertoire choice by Noel Edison and his Elora Festival Singers, for it's an outstanding example of Willan's considerable talent and it's one of the finest settings of the Missa brevis you'll ever hear.


Which brings us to the choir. Ontario's Elora Festival Singers and director Noel Edison should be declared national treasures by the Canadian government. The artistic care and professionalism that they commit to every project are exemplary, and there's no doubt that Healey Willan could have no finer advocates than these outstanding musicians (and there are many strong contenders for that honor among Canada's unrivalled and impressive cadre of choral ensembles!). If you haven't heard Willan, this is a great introduction. And if you have, you should know that the disc's final track, the beloved motet Rise up, my love, my fair one, is without question its ideal recorded realization, the thing that proves that Edison and his choir really understand what Willan is about and know how to bring his uniquely expressive choral forms to life. And it's reason enough to own this CD, a performance so sure and lovely that you want to hear it again and again. [5/17/2006]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
In the heavenly kingdom, B 380 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 8 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
2.
St. Osmund, B 449 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 3 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
3.
Sun of righteousness, B 438 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1940; Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 3 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
4.
The Dead (How they so softly rest), B 302 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 3 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
5.
Ye watchers and ye holy ones, B 403 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 4 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
6.
Missa brevis XI, B 226 "Sancti Johannis Baptistae" by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 7 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004)
This selection is sung in English and Greek. 
7.
I looked, and behold a white cloud, B 344 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Joseph Schnurr (Tenor), Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; England 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 7 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
8.
Preserve us, o Lord, B 310 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1937; Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
9.
O King, all glorious, B 311 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1937; Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
10.
Picardy, B 405 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 5 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
11.
Christ hath a garden, B 352 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1940; Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
12.
O Quanta Qualia, B 394 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 3 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
13.
Motets (6): O how glorious, B 304 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1924; Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
14.
O Praise the Lord, B 377 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 7 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 
15.
Rise up, my love, my fair one, B 314 by Healey Willan
Performer:  Matthew Larkin (Organ)
Conductor:  Noel Edison
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elora Festival Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1937; Canada 
Venue:  St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: St. John's Church, Elora, Ontario (11/19/2004 - 11/21/2004) 

Sound Samples

In the heavenly kingdom, Op. 380
Hymn-Anthem on the tune St. Osmund, Op. 449: St Osmund, Op. 449
Sun of Righteousness, Op. 438
The Dead, Op. 302: How they so softly rest, Op. 302
Hymn-Anthem on the tune Ye watchers and ye holy ones, Op. 403: Anthem on Ye watchers and ye holy ones, Op. 403
Missa Brevis No. 11, Op. 226, "Sancti Johannis Baptistae": Kyrie
Missa Brevis No. 11, Op. 226, "Sancti Johannis Baptistae": Sanctus
Missa Brevis No. 11, Op. 226, "Sancti Johannis Baptistae": Benedictus qui venit
Missa Brevis No. 11, Op. 226, "Sancti Johannis Baptistae": Agnus Dei
I looked, and behold a white cloud, Op. 344
Preserve us, O Lord, Op. 310
O King all Glorious, Op. 311: O King all glorious, Op. 311
Hymn-Anthem on the tune Picardy, Op. 405: Anthem on Picardy, Op. 405
Christ hath a garden, Op. 352
Hymn-Anthem on the tune O quanta qualia, Op. 394: Anthem on O quanta qualia, Op. 394
O How Glorious, Op. 304: O how glorious, Op. 304
O Praise the Lord, Op. 377: O praise the Lord, Op. 377
Rise up, my Love, my Fair One, Op. 314: Rise up, my love, my fair one, Op. 314

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