Holiday Shop


WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

The Feast Of St. Peter The Apostle At Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey Choir / Odonnell
Release Date: 08/10/2010 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67770   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Maurice DurufléPhilip RadcliffeHenry George LeyCharles Villiers Stanford,   ... 
Performer:  Robert Quinney
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $21.98
CD:  $19.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews

Not showy; instead you really feel that you are eavesdropping on a genuine liturgical event.

This new recording from James O’Donnell and the Choir of Westminster Abbey celebrates the Abbey’s patron saint, St. Peter. The programme roughly follows the outline of daily services, starting with music for Matins, ending with Evensong and music for Eucharist at the centre. St. Peter is reflected in the presence of both Palestrina and Duruflé’s Tu es Petrus and more tangentially in Walton’s The Twelve as well as the Psalms laid down for use on the feast of St. Peter. None of the three sections is a complete service reconstruction but each manages to give a real flavour of the full service, with the Matins
Read more section including Philip Radcliffe’s Responses. Radcliffe was a Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge and his Preces and Responses were originally written for the Festival of Music within the Liturgy at Edington; Radcliffe sets the texts with warmth and skill.

At the centre of the disc is William Byrd’s Mass for five voices, in a profoundly thoughtful and contemplative performance. O’Donnell and his choir give a highly musical account of Byrd’s masterwork, whilst creating a rather low-key feeling. This is not a showy performance; instead you really feel that you are eavesdropping on a genuine liturgical event. The choir manages to imbue their account with a genuine Anglican spirituality. By performing the mass complete the choir includes a movement which is never performed liturgically (the Credo) and a pair of movements which are rarely, if ever, performed together ( Kyrie and Gloria).

And this feeling seems to imbue the remainder of the disc. Even such works as Palestrina’s Tu es Petrus and Walton’s crisply articulated The Twelve, are presented in a slightly lower key than might otherwise be the case. But this does not mean that there is any sloppiness. Far from it, the large choir (18 boy choristers and 17 lay vicars) is finely disciplined, whilst giving individual lines shape and feeling.

The selection of music on the disc contributes to the distinctive timbre of the whole. Duruflé’s plainchant-inflected, thoughtful and devotional motet is followed by responses from Philip Radcliffe which are notable for their intelligence and usefulness rather than any sort of showing off. Henry George Ley’s chant for Psalm 138 and William Crotch’s Psalm 124, used in the Evensong segment are both securely in the Anglican chant tradition; intelligent, imaginative and either fascinating or dull, depending on how you feel about Anglican chant.

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford’s 1879 Service in B flat is used for the Matins and Evensong canticles, though regrettably the choir only use four of Stanford’s five canticles. The service is a major milestone in the development of Anglican church music, representing the harnessing of Brahmsian symphonic technique to the needs of the Anglican liturgy. Stanford also included a setting of the communion service in the set but this was carefully geared to 19 th century usage and is hardly ever performed today which is a shame. It would have been a very different disc but I can’t help wishing the choir could have given us Stanford’s Service in B flat complete.

Walton’s The Twelve is the longest single track on the disc and is a fine reflection of one of the composer’s relatively few sacred works. Though Westminster Abbey Choir’s performance is musical and finely sung, the prevailing acoustic means that Auden’s words rather go for naught.

The disc closes with organist Robert Quinney playing a dashing account of Marcel Dupré’s transcription of the Sinfonia from Bach’s Cantata 39.

In keeping with the general tenor of the disc, James O’Donnell’s speeds are moderate, keeping things moving without dragging or pushing, but giving plenty of time for the music to speak; quite a necessity in a relatively resonant acoustic.

The distinctive make-up of the programme of this disc means that you will almost certainly end up duplicating something in your library. But this disc is highly commended for the way O’Donnell and his forces convey the thoughtful spirituality which goes into the daily musical performance at the Abbey.

-- Robert Hugill, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Motets (4) on Gregorian themes, Op. 10: no 3, Tu es Petrus by Maurice Duruflé
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; France 
2.
Preces and responses by Philip Radcliffe
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir
Period: Modern 
3.
I will give thanks unto Thee, O Lord by Henry George Ley
Performer:  Robert Quinney (Organ)
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir
Period: 20th Century 
4.
Services in B flat major, Op. 10 by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Robert Quinney (Organ)
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879/1910; England 
5.
Mass for 5 Voices by William Byrd
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: circa 1595; England 
6.
Tu es Petrus by Giovanni Palestrina
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Italy 
7.
Nisi quia Dominus by William Crotch
Performer:  Robert Quinney (Organ)
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir
8.
The Twelve by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Robert Quinney (Organ)
Conductor:  James O'Donnell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Abbey Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; England 
9.
Wir danken dir, Gott, BWV 29: no 1, Sinfonia in D major by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Robert Quinney (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1731; Leipzig, Germany 
Notes: Arranger: Marcel Dupré. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In