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English Choral Music - Lennox Berkeley: Sacred Choral Music


Release Date: 09/23/2003 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557277   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


It's a rare treat to hear this music, which occupies a distinctive if not especially innovative or influential place in 20th century English choral music. Lennox Berkeley's sacred choral works are purely personal creations that, unlike with Britten or Vaughan Williams, do not seem born of innate genius but rather arise more from a profound desire to compose--and thus they exhibit substantial referential attributes (a bit of the early 20th-century French school, Britten, and Stravinsky at his more harmonically austere) and tend to impress more for their superb craftsmanship and idiomatic treatment of voices than for their inspired invention.


And it's to Berkeley's credit that
Read more what he created is some very sophisticated music that gives impetus and meaning to the well-known liturgical texts--namely the masses and Magnificat--and rouses our senses as we listen through the often edgy, dense, thorny harmonic terrain that usually leaves us without any clear melodic path to follow. The Sanctus of the Missa brevis Op. 57 shows what truly innovative impulses lay within Berkeley's creative character, but it's only in such brief moments that we enjoy such promising glimpses. The Three Latin Motets (1972) show another side to Berkeley's development as a composer, a blatant flirtation with atonalism. The treble solo (unfortunately uncredited on this recording) in the middle of A Festival Anthem is a highlight, as is the wonderful choral singing--and fine organ playing--throughout. This is a difficult program that's solidly and authoritatively presented, in ideally spacious, complementary sound. Choral music fans--especially those who appreciate the works of Britten--shouldn't hesitate to explore this.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Crux fidelis, Op. 43 no 1 by Lennox Berkeley
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 6 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
2.
Missa Brevis, Op. 57 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 10 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
3.
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, Op. 99 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 9 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
4.
Latin Motets (3), Op. 83 no 1 by Lennox Berkeley
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 8 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
5.
Mass, Op. 64 by Lennox Berkeley
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 12 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: The first section of this work (Kyrie) is performed in Greek. 
6.
Look up, sweet babe, Op. 43 no 2 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 4 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: English 
7.
A Festival Anthem, Op. 21 no 2 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 11 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: English 
8.
Pieces (3) for Organ, Op. 72 no 1: Toccata by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966-1968; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 4 Minutes 45 Secs. 
9.
The Lord is my Shepherd, Op. 91 no 1 by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Jonathan Vaughn (Organ)
Conductor:  Christopher Robinson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cambridge St. John's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975; England 
Date of Recording: 03/2003 
Venue:  Chapel, St. John's College, Cambridge 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: English 

Sound Samples

Crux fidelis, Op. 43, No. 1
Missa brevis, Op. 57: Kyrie
Missa brevis, Op. 57: Gloria
Missa brevis, Op. 57: Sanctus
Missa brevis, Op. 57: Benedictus
Missa brevis, Op. 57: Agnus Dei
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, Op. 99: Magnificat
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, Op. 99: Nunc dimittis
3 Latin Motets, Op. 83, No. 1: Eripe me, Domine
3 Latin Motets, Op. 83, No. 1: Veni sponsa Christi
3 Latin Motets, Op. 83, No. 1: Regina coeli
The Lord is my shepherd, Op. 91, No. 1
Mass, Op. 64: Kyrie
Mass, Op. 64: Gloria
Mass, Op. 64: Sanctus
Mass, Op. 64: Benedictus
Mass, Op. 64: Agnus Dei
Look up, sweet Babe, Op. 43, No. 2: Look up, sweet babe, Op. 43, No. 2
A Festival Anthem, Op. 21, No. 2
3 Pieces, Op. 72, No. 1: Three Pieces Op. 72, No. 1: Toccata

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