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Cat. No. CHAN 10751 Price: 10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10751 - Wesley: Sacred Choral Works
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Available From: 01 February 2013
Wesley: Sacred Choral Works

 The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge has selected some of the best-known choral works of Samuel Sebastian Wesley for inclusion on this album, interspersing them with one of his organ works as well as a psalm chant by his father, Samuel Wesley. 

 
Samuel Sebastian Wesley was one of the most controversial characters in nineteenth-century English music, earning a reputation for inherent stubbornness, a highly critical mindset (particularly in relation to the church), and a unique pioneering spirit. All of which were character traits which became instrumental in the creation of the wholly new styles of church music, and the renewal of church practices, for which he became known. 
 
The wilderness and the solitary place (c. 1832) is one such work, described by the conservative critic R.J.S. Stevens as ‘a clever thing. But it is not cathedral music’. This early work comes across as a compressed oratorio, or an operatic scena, with the overt emotions and huge range of textures on display unlike anything that had ever been heard in English church music before. In contrast, Ascribe unto the Lord (1851) acts as a mature counterpart to the youthful Wilderness, and sets out in miniature the sentiments of Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah, while staying true to the melodic exuberance of the composer himself.   
 T
he Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world, known and loved by millions for its recordings, broadcasts, and concert tours. For several decades it has performed around the world, including the US, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Australia, and of course Europe. 
Reviews

“… This most enjoyable survey of his [Wesley’s] sacred compositions includes several of his best known works, including substantial anthems with contrasting sections… Any aficionado of Anglican church music owes it to himself to explore this. The St John’s College Choir performs with admirable facility and sincere sacred sentiment. Chandos sees to exceptional sound quality as well as a complete and useful booklet.”

Lindsay Koob – American Record Guide – September/October 2013

“...this disc ranks highly as a basic compendium of Wesley’s music... Andrew Nethsingha conducts vibrant performance of some of Wesley’s most famous works.”
 
William Kreindler  - MusicWeb-International.com – May 2013
 

"... St John’s College Choir goes all out to explore the drama, interacting with John Challenger’s organ playing ... the overall effect is enjoyable."
David Hansell - Early Music Review - June 2013

“This is a lovely CD of fine music, beautifully performed and recorded. A demonstration disc all round. The presentation is excellent.”  *****
 
Eve Edwards – Musical Opinion magazine – May-June 2013 
 

"... As an introduction to the oeuvre of Wesley this disc is an unequivocal success. I hope that this choir will complete the picture with a recording of some of the lesser-known compositions."

 Johan van Veen - MusicWeb-International.com - April 2013

“...Andrew Nethsingha directs splendidly, the performance as broad and grand as one could wish... this is a disc to uplift the spirits.”
Richard Lawrence – Gramophone magazine – April 2013 

                       Performance ****          Recording *****

“...this is an attractive programme, sung with expertise and devotion.”
 
Terry Blain – BBC Music magazine – April 2013

“...Challenger is clearly firmly in his element here, his lusty accompaniments unashamedly full-blooded and his dexterity verging on the miraculous ... If Challenger is having fun, the choir is having an absolute ball ... it is inconceivable that he [Wesley] could ever have imagined his music being performed with such consummate technical skill and musical artistry, or by a choir of such immaculate blend and taut ensemble as this...”
 
Marc Rochester – International Record Review – March 2013
 

 

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