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Belgian Choral Works / Scriven, Lichfield Cathedral Choir


Release Date: 02/19/2008 
Label:  Regent   Catalog #: 241   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Flor PeetersJoseph JongenCésar Franck
Performer:  Philip ScrivenMark HounsellKristina RoeJenny Mason,   ... 
Conductor:  Philip Scriven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fine Arts Brass EnsembleLichfield Cathedral Chamber ChoirLichfield Cathedral Choir,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A highly significant modern Mass setting makes a welcome debut.

Jongen's Mass is a deeply impressive work. Moments of magisterial grandeur, captivating tints of impressionistic colour, masterly handling of the instrumental resources and beautifully paced choral writing elevate it to one of the best Mass settings from the mid-20th century (it was first performed in 1946 and reflects Jongen's joy on learning that a friend captured by the Gestapo had survived the war).

This recording is welcome, not only because it brings into the catalogue such a significant work but also because Philip Scriven drives his choral forces to produce some impassioned and, at times (not least in Franck's Panis angelicus), really
Read more lovely singing. On top of that, the Fine Arts Brass Ensemble play with fire and verve, adding greatly to the magnificence of the work's climaxes, and Alexander Mason knows the Lichfield Cathedral organ intimately enough to handle Jongen's quasi-orchestral writing with complete assurance. The addition of the three quiet fillers (the Franck and two inoffensive organ solos) offers a nice touch of repose, although purists may find Scriven's reading of Flor Peeters's Aria questionable.

The sum of the parts, however, is mildly disappointing. The fault lies fairly and squarely with Lichfield Cathedral itself. Acoustically it offers little tangible support and while Peeters's somewhat spartan Mass is not seriously disadvantaged by such a lifeless environment, Jongen's cries out for that halo of resonance which would blunt the occasional rough edges (both in the performance and the writing itself) and add a touch of opulence to the proceedings. Nevertheless Regent's Gary Cole has done what he can to soften the sound and, until a recording comes along setting the work in a more sympathetic acoustic, Lichfield Cathedral and its musicians can be proud to have produced this invaluable recording.

-- Marc Rochester, Gramophone [1/2007]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Aria, Op. 51 by Flor Peeters
Performer:  Philip Scriven (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; Belgium 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
2.
Mass, Op. 130 by Joseph Jongen
Performer:  Mark Hounsell (Tenor), Kristina Roe (Soprano), Jenny Mason (Alto),
Alex Mason (Organ), Francis Ambrose (Bass)
Conductor:  Philip Scriven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fine Arts Brass Ensemble,  Lichfield Cathedral Chamber Choir,  Lichfield Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; Belgium 
3.
Missa Festiva, Op. 62 by Flor Peeters
Performer:  Alex Mason (Organ)
Conductor:  Philip Scriven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fine Arts Brass Ensemble,  Lichfield Cathedral Chamber Choir,  Lichfield Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; Belgium 
4.
Chant de May, Op. 53 no 1 by Joseph Jongen
Performer:  Philip Scriven (Organ)
Conductor:  Philip Scriven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fine Arts Brass Ensemble,  Lichfield Cathedral Chamber Choir,  Lichfield Cathedral Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: Belgium 
Length: 4 Minutes 49 Secs. 
5.
Panis angelicus by César Franck
Performer:  Alexander Liang (Violin), Alex Mason (Organ)
Conductor:  Philip Scriven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lichfield Cathedral Choir Trebles
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 

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