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Mathias: Choral Music / Owens, Wells Cathedral Choir


Release Date: 05/12/2009 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67740   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Welsh composer William Mathias (1934-1992) could write choral works as irresistibly attractive and catchy as the anthem Let the people praise thee, O God (written for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981), and also more harmonically thorny and melodically angular pieces such as the Magnificat (1971) or All wisdom is from the Lord (1982). But no matter the musical setting and structure, the music is invariably comprehensible, expertly written, and profoundly affecting--although never "easy" nor conventionally "pretty".

While there's plenty of evidence to claim Mathias as heir to Britten--for instance, the uninhibited rhythmic facility and inherent
Read more affinity for austere, often acerbic harmony (the Missa brevis even offers a gentle reminder of Britten's own work)--Mathias possessed his own recognizable style, much of it derived from modal melody and quartal/quintal harmony. His particular musical language stirs all manner of emotion and mood, exemplified in the at once strangely serene, evocative, and transcendent Ave verum corpus; yet when there's a joyful noise to be made, no one creates it more convincingly or infectiously than Mathias, as in the Gloria of the Missa brevis, or the two magnificent solo organ works, superbly performed here by Jonathan Vaughn.

And speaking of performance, you might expect one of Britain's finest cathedral choirs to be quite "at home" with this music--and of course the Wells Cathedral Choir offers not only expert singing and unassailable ensemble mastery, but proves a first-rate advocate for a composer whose works should be more familiar and better understood. All of the music on this program, much of it not often recorded, is well worth hearing (and performing!), and once heard will surely draw you back time and again. The sound is faithful to the spacious, resonant cathedral acoustic. Highly recommended.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Let the people praise Thee, O God!, Op. 87 by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981; Wales, UK 
Length: 5 Minutes 15 Secs. 
2.
Processional for Organ by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; Wales, UK 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
3.
Ave verum corpus by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 29 Secs. 
4.
Carillon for Organ by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 6 Minutes 15 Secs. 
5.
Psalm Collection: no 2, Lift up your heads, O ye gates by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969; United Kingdom 
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
6.
Rex gloriae, Op. 83: O nata lux by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981; Wales, UK 
Length: 2 Minutes 5 Secs. 
7.
Jubliate Deo, Op. 90 no 2 by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; United Kingdom 
Length: 4 Minutes 40 Secs. 
8.
Jesus College Service, Op. 53 by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; Wales, UK 
Length: 7 Minutes 18 Secs. 
9.
A babe is born, Op. 55 by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; Wales, UK 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
10.
In excelsis gloria by William Mathias
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Wales, UK 
Length: 2 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: Wales, UK (1954).
Composition revised: Wales, UK (1991). 
11.
Missa brevis, Op. 64 by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1973; Wales, UK 
Length: 18 Minutes 3 Secs. 
12.
All wisdom is from the Lord, Op. 88 no 3 by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982; Wales, UK 
Length: 6 Minutes 19 Secs. 
13.
Festival Te Deum, Op. 28 by William Mathias
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Wells Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; Wales 
Length: 7 Minutes 13 Secs. 

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