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Let Us Lift Up Our Heart: 19th Century Church Music


Release Date: 08/28/2007 
Label:  Griffin   Catalog #: 4059   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Samuel Sebastian WesleyJohn StainerJohn GossOuseley, F.A. Gore, Sir,   ... 
Performer:  Jeremy SuterJohn LeesChristopher BreedsAnthony Nixon,   ... 
Conductor:  Alan ThurlowJohn Birch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chichester Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a re-issue of recordings made in a bygone era. Not because Chichester haven’t bothered to record anything since, but presumably because these first appeared in vinyl and/or cassette format. Recording and editing techniques have improved vastly in the last two or three decades, and the remastering of these recordings has certainly come up trumps. That said, some quite audible ambient noise remains in places.

The curious aspect of this CD is the organ. Read more Continued problems with the cathedral’s pipe organ in the first half of the twentieth century brought about the temporary abandonment of the instrument between 1973 and 1986.  During this time, the services were accompanied by an Allen electronic organ, and it is this instrument that can be heard on this CD. Most cathedrals would wait until their pipe organ was up and running again before making a recording. Not so here – evidence perhaps that the Chichester Choir was at a peak at this time.

There are some familiar and less familiar works represented on this disc. The opening track from which the disc takes its name, is a marathon anthem which is rarely performed these days – not surprising given that it takes almost twenty minutes! And it’s twenty minutes of standard Victorian fare that centres around a baritone solo which is executed most stylishly.

The beginning of I Saw the Lord, one of the most grandiose and exciting starts to any anthem is quite pathetic here – the electronic timbre of the organ sounds just awful, and the choir sound as if only half of them have turned up. This piece needs plenty of ‘oomph’ from organ and choir and sadly it’s conspicuous by its absence here.

The lay vicars are superb, especially the counter-tenors. An extended passage for ATB in The Wilderness demonstrates the generally excellent blend between the lower parts, as does Remember O Lord.

The treble sound is a bit thin but perfectly pleasant throughout, although in How Beautiful upon the Mountains they aren’t quite blended and sound a little bit plummy, especially in the exposed opening phrase. The long and complex Remember O Lord features a delightful treble solo and has an exciting finish.

For me, Cast Me Not Away is a highlight of the disc, and not just because it is unaccompanied, thus avoiding the Allen organ but because the singing is nicely controlled and well paced, doing justice to the handsomely crafted work. Quite stunning. Curiously enough Ian Fox is credited with playing the organ on tracks 7 and 8, an unfortunate mistake in the sleeve-notes. 

A Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by Henry Smart brings up the rear of this Victorian choral fest. Whilst there are better settings from this period it certainly brings the CD to a rousing and satisfyingly contrapuntal conclusion.

-- Max Kenworth, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Let us lift up our heart with our hands by Samuel Sebastian Wesley
Performer:  Jeremy Suter (Organ), John Lees (), Christopher Breeds (),
Anthony Nixon ()
Conductor:  Alan Thurlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chichester Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; England 
Venue:  Chichester Cathedral 
Length: 18 Minutes 9 Secs. 
2. I Saw the Lord by John Stainer
Performer:  Jeremy Suter (Organ)
Conductor:  Alan Thurlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chichester Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: after 1856; England 
Venue:  Chichester Cathedral 
Length: 6 Minutes 59 Secs. 
3. The Wilderness by John Goss
Performer:  Anthony Nixon (), Geoffrey Simmonds (), Jeremy Suter (Organ),
John Lees (), Christopher Breeds ()
Conductor:  Alan Thurlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chichester Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862; England 
Venue:  Chichester Cathedral 
Length: 9 Minutes 8 Secs. 
4. If we believe that Jesus died by John Goss
Performer:  Jeremy Suter (Organ)
Conductor:  Alan Thurlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chichester Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852; England 
Venue:  Chichester Cathedral 
Length: 3 Minutes 48 Secs. 
5. O Saviour of the world by Ouseley, F.A. Gore, Sir
Performer:  Jeremy Suter (Organ)
Conductor:  Alan Thurlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chichester Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: England 
Venue:  Chichester Cathedral 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
6. How beautiful upon the mountains by John Stainer
Performer:  Jeremy Suter (Organ)
Conductor:  Alan Thurlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chichester Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: England 
Venue:  Chichester Cathedral 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
7. Remember, O Lord, what is come upon us by Thomas Attwood Walmisley
Performer:  Ian Fox (Organ), Michael Pearce ()
Conductor:  John Birch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chichester Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1838; England 
Date of Recording: 1976 
Venue:  Chichester Cathedral 
Length: 13 Minutes 12 Secs. 
8. Cast me not away from Thy presence by Samuel Sebastian Wesley
Performer:  Ian Fox (Organ)
Conductor:  John Birch
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chichester Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; England 
Date of Recording: 1976 
Venue:  Chichester Cathedral 
Length: 5 Minutes 3 Secs. 
9. Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in B flat major by Henry Thomas Smart
Performer:  Malcolm Boulter (), Jeremy Suter (Organ), Nicholas Robertson ()
Conductor:  Alan Thurlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chichester Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; England 
Venue:  Chichester Cathedral 
Length: 5 Minutes 45 Secs. 
10. Nunc Dimittis in G major, for chorus & organ by Henry Thomas Smart
Performer:  Jeremy Suter (Organ)
Conductor:  Alan Thurlow
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chichester Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Chichester Cathedral 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 

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