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Benjamin Britten: Choral & Organ Music / Gray, Bond, Truro Cathedral Choir

Truro Cathedral Choir / Gray
Release Date: 02/12/2013 
Label:  Regent   Catalog #: 349   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Luke BondNicholas HawkerMarc GregoryGlen Badve,   ... 
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BRITTEN Te Deum in C. Jubilate Deo in E?. Corpus Christi Carol. The Sycamore Tree. A Hymn to the Virgin. Hymn to St. Cecilia. Prelude and Fugue on a Theme of Vittoria. Missa Brevis. Antiphon. Rejoice in the Lamb. Advance Democracy Christopher Gray, cond; Luke Bond (org); Truro Cathedral Ch REGENT 349 (74:33 Text and Translation)

Read more /> The one thing that struck me more than anything else as soon as this CD started was the remarkable energy and drive of the choral singing. Regular readers of my reviews know that I have been very critical, particularly of late, of choral groups that foster a soft-grained, all-purpose, gooshy-wooshy choral sound—one might almost say the aural equivalent of an air pillow. Happily, this is not the case with the Truro Cathedral Choir. Though they are certainly capable of singing softly and beautifully when the score calls for it (as in the middle of the opening Te Deum in C), they also give out with jubilant enthusiasm when necessary. Bravo to them! And a BIG bravo to director Christopher Gray! These are as enthusiastic as the performances Britten himself directed with boys’ choirs, and that is saying quite a bit.


Most of the music on this set dates from the 1930s and early 1940s, to wit: the Te Deum and Jubilate Deo from 1934 (though the latter wasn’t published until a half-century later), The Sycamore Tree and A Hymn to the Virgin from 1931, Hymn to St. Cecilia 1942, Rejoice in the Lamb 1943, and a real curio, Advance Democracy, written to celebrate the now-infamous Munich Pact, signed by Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler in 1938. The other pieces date from 1946 (Britten’s only organ work, Prelude and Fugue on a theme of Vittoria ), the 1950s ( Antiphon and Missa Brevis ), and 1961 ( Corpus Christi Carol ). To my ears, it is all of a very high quality, the less complex pieces still including elements of surprise and turns of phrase unique to Britten, the later works evincing the full flowering of Britten’s talent.


It should also be noted that not all of the works on this CD utilize an organ, but those that do (such as the Te Deum and the lengthy Missa Brevis ) are beautifully balanced acoustically. Moreover, due to the superb musical direction of Gray, the chorus interacts with the organ in an extraordinary way, and the recorded sonics are unbelievably clear and natural. You’d almost think the performers were in the very next room.


The performances on this disc compare favorably with others on disc, although I admit to not having heard all those available. Nevertheless, their performance of the Missa Brevis is far superior to the cold, unfeeling versions recorded by Eric Banks and the Esoterics (Terpsichore), Chanticleer (Chanticleer 1), the Corydon Singers (Helios), or The Sixteen (Coro). Organist Bond is also an enthusiastic interpreter, his performance of the Prelude and Fugue being clear in texture and outstanding in its forward momentum. This is an excellent disc.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Te Deum, for trumpet, chorus & organ in C major by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Luke Bond (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934; United Kingdom 
Venue:  Truro Cathedral 
Length: 8 Minutes 41 Secs. 
2.
Jubilate Deo in E flat major by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Luke Bond (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; England 
Venue:  Truro Cathedral 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
3.
A Boy was Born, Op. 3: Corpus Christi Carol by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Luke Bond (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955/1961; England 
Venue:  Truro Cathedral 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
4.
Sycamore Tree by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Luke Bond (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930/1967; England 
Venue:  Truro Cathedral 
Length: 1 Minutes 59 Secs. 
5.
Hymn to the Virgin by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Luke Bond (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930/1934; England 
Venue:  Truro Cathedral 
Length: 3 Minutes 47 Secs. 
6.
Hymn to St Cecilia, Op. 27 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Nicholas Hawker (), Marc Gregory (), Luke Bond (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; England 
Venue:  Truro Cathedral 
Length: 10 Minutes 20 Secs. 
7.
Prelude and Fugue on a Theme of Vittoria by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Luke Bond (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; England 
Venue:  Truro Cathedral 
Length: 1 Minutes 45 Secs. 
8.
Missa Brevis in D major, Op. 63 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Luke Bond (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; England 
Venue:  Truro Cathedral 
Length: 6 Minutes 25 Secs. 
9.
Antiphon, Op. 56b by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Glen Badve (Treble), Piran [Treble Vocal] Venton (Treble), Luke Bond (Organ),
Jonathan Hunkin (Treble)
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; England 
Venue:  Truro Cathedral 
Length: 6 Minutes 23 Secs. 
10.
Rejoice in the Lamb, festival cantata for trumpet, ATB soloists, chorus & organ, Op. 30 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Sam Mitchell (), Luke Bond (Organ), Nicholas Hawker ()
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Period: Modern 
Written: 1943; United Kingdom 
Venue:  Truro Cathedral 
Length: 15 Minutes 38 Secs. 
11.
Advance Democracy by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Luke Bond (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Gray
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; England 
Venue:  Truro Cathedral 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 

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