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Spratling: Choral Music / Rennert, Bullock, Chadwell, Et Al


Release Date: 10/01/1996 
Label:  Somm   Catalog #: 206   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Huw Spratling
Performer:  Jeffrey DyballJohn HattonCaryll NewnhamRichard Fürstenheim,   ... 
Conductor:  Jonathan Rennert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parnassus Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Now in his late forties, Huw Spratling is a composer with a long list of works to his name, but a name that is still new to the Gramophone Database. If this present collection represents him fairly, it suggests that his music may appeal primarily to two types of listener: one, the abominator of modern dissonance, declamation and ‘difficulty’, the other a soulful sensualist. That, I fancy, includes a part of most of us, for if we were not in some way spiritual beings we would not spend so much of our time listening to music, which at its most powerful may induce a kind of ecstasy associated otherwise with the world of the senses and a less spiritual kind of stimulant. Yet we also have that faculty which we vaguely and (these days) nervously Read more identify as taste, and which generally resists too easy or too eager an invitation: and that is what I find here. Here, where even discords indulge and where rhythmic irregularity titillates rather than disturbs, a touch of difficulty is exactly what we crave. Nor need it be anything particularly modern: a vigorous, well-worked, well-sustained, diatonic fugue would do.

This unwonted cold-shower-and-regular-exercise business arises out of the church music rather than the two instrumental pieces, though they do not discourage it. The Sinfonietta for strings sports some folky dance figures that tell fleetingly of fresh air and fun, though all too soon it takes refuge in a placidly self-conscious loveliness and then in the tolling bass of a dreamy- sad-sweet threnody. The Sonatina for harp, dedicated to Sir Lennox Berkeley, seems to be expertly written for the instrument and makes pleasant listening, despite an improvisatory manner and fragments of a Gershwin-like song-melody that are more the caster sugar dusting than the meat and drink of music. Certainly it is very well played by Jeffrey Dyball, and indeed the composer is well served by all involved.

In the two short pieces for soprano and organ, Susan Bullock sings with pure tone, rising readily to her top Bs. In the Mass the soloist is Tracey Chadwell whose death last year was deeply mourned and whose clear, finely placed voice is otherwise to be heard (and then very delightfully) only in the finale of Alan Rawsthorne’s Pastoral Symphony (Lyrita, 2/96). The choir is small in number but sings with assurance; the players and their conductor contribute handsomely. John Amis writes an appreciative note for the booklet, affirming that this is music which “cries out to be heard by a larger audience”.

-- Gramophone [3/1997]
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Works on This Recording

1. Mass of the Holy Spirit by Huw Spratling
Performer:  Jeffrey Dyball (Harp), John Hatton (Organ), Caryll Newnham (Soprano),
Richard Fürstenheim (Countertenor), Duncan Saunderson (Countertenor), Deborah Carter (Alto),
Helen Tunstall (Harp), Stephen Alder (Bass), Charles Pott (Bass),
Anthony Scales (Bass), Richard Day Lewis (Tenor), David Roy (Tenor),
Lynton Atkinson (Tenor), Susan Bullock (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jonathan Rennert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parnassus Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979/1984 
Date of Recording: 05/1988 
Venue:  Saint Mary Magdalene, Paddington 
Length: 23 Minutes 48 Secs. 
2. Sinfonietta by Huw Spratling
Conductor:  Jonathan Rennert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parnassus Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985 
Date of Recording: 05/1988 
Venue:  Saint Mary Magdalene, Paddington 
Length: 13 Minutes 10 Secs. 
3. Sonatina for Harp by Huw Spratling
Performer:  Jeffrey Dyball (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983 
Date of Recording: 05/1988 
Venue:  Saint Mary Magdalene, Paddington 
Length: 9 Minutes 13 Secs. 
4. O salutaris hostia by Huw Spratling
Performer:  Susan Bullock (Soprano), John Hatton (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 05/1988 
Venue:  Saint Mary Magdalene, Paddington 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
5. Tantum ergo by Huw Spratling
Performer:  Susan Bullock (Soprano), John Hatton (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 05/1988 
Venue:  Saint Mary Magdalene, Paddington 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 
6. O magnum mysterium by Huw Spratling
Performer:  Richard Day Lewis (Tenor), Anthony Scales (Bass), Charles Pott (Bass),
Stephen Alder (Bass), Tracey Chadwell (Soprano), Richard Fürstenheim (Countertenor),
Caryll Newnham (Soprano), Duncan Saunderson (Countertenor), Deborah Carter (Alto),
Lynton Atkinson (Tenor), David Roy (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 05/1988 
Venue:  Saint Mary Magdalene, Paddington 
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
7. In paradisum by Huw Spratling
Performer:  John Hatton (Organ), Stephen Alder (Bass), Charles Pott (Bass),
Anthony Scales (Bass), Richard Day Lewis (Tenor), David Roy (Tenor),
Tracey Chadwell (Soprano), Susan Bullock (Soprano), Caryll Newnham (Soprano),
Richard Fürstenheim (Countertenor), Duncan Saunderson (Countertenor), Deborah Carter (Alto),
Lynton Atkinson (Tenor), Jeffrey Dyball (Harp)
Conductor:  Jonathan Rennert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parnassus Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 05/1988 
Venue:  Saint Mary Magdalene, Paddington 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Mass of the Holy Spirit, Op. 23: Kyrie
Mass of the Holy Spirit, Op. 23: Gloria
Mass of the Holy Spirit, Op. 23: Sanctus
Mass of the Holy Spirit, Op. 23: Benedictus
Mass of the Holy Spirit, Op. 23: Agnus Dei
O salutaris hostia, Op. 19b
Tantum ergo, Op. 19c
Sinfonietta, Op. 37
Harp Sonatina
O magnum mysterium, Op. 25a
In paradisum, Op. 25a

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