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Passiontide at St. Paul's (UK Import) Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • ASIN: B0002VUL9M
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A hauntingly beautiful progress through Lent to Passiontide and Easter. Coming from a different tradition, much of the settings were new to me - and a striking reminder that the Church of England can hold its own against the Church of Rome when it comes to choral celebration of this most dramatic time of the Church year. The Sir Edward Barstow 'Lamentations' was a stunning setting of Jeremiah's words, sung with immense feeling and making the hair stand up on the nape of the neck with the rendition of the closing verse of each stanza: "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return unto the Lord thy God". John Sanders' 'The Reproaches' were, quite simply, breathtaking - the most arresting opening of any version of the 'Improperiae' that I have ever heard, and taking off from there. This is a thrilling album - an extraordinary and moving musical and spiritual experience.
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Format: Audio CD
I was given this as a combined Eastertide and birthday gift (the two often coincide) and have already derived much pleasure from it. I am more familiar with Catholic rather than the Anglican liturgical music and tend to shy away from a lot of what I hear as Victorian pieties but there are several items here I find exceptionally beautiful and even the few I don't especially warm to are interesting.

Just a word about the acoustic: the result of being recorded in St Paul's, it is hence very broad and slightly fuzzy with a constant "white noise" in the background; it's not distracting but it's there. However, words are clear, even if I baulk these days at the rather precious diction preserved in English choral schools. Still this was recorded twenty years ago and the angelic choristers are now probably slightly paunchy bankers with mortgages and burgeoning families, so perhaps that cut-glass pronunciation is on the wane - or being modified.

My predilection for Renaissance polyphonic music means that I inevitably favour the three pieces by Farrant, Gibbons and Philips respectively, but Bairstow's "Lamentations" has a strangely haunting quality and I am an absolute sucker for the lush sentimentality and gorgeous harmonies of Mendelssohn's "I waited for the Lord", with two trebles singing with such a clean line and accurate intonation. the grandest work here is Bruckner's great motet "Christus factus est" which ranges so freely over different keys and has such a wide tessitura. The more modern pieces are clearly rooted in traditional idioms so I have no difficulty in appreciating their sound world and the standard of singing is so high throughout that everything affords pleasure.
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Bought for my mother and she loves it.
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Magtnificent!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9bce0864) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bd00f9c) out of 5 stars Something very special 1 Feb. 2002
By Mark Swinton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is, I suspect, the least well-known of the three seasonal discs released during the last few years by St. Paul's Cathedral Choir, yet it is arguably the best performance they have ever given on record.
A more appropriate title would perhaps be "Lent to Easter at St. Paul's," since the programme forms a sequence beginning with music for Lent, passing through the intensely solemn and emotionally-charged atmosphere of Passiontide before ending with some of the gems that traditionally accompany Easter Day services in many churches. The music for this sequence is all very striking, running the whole gamut of emotions from sadness to joy, sorrow to hope and despair to unalloyed delight.
The disc begins with "The Lent Prose," a plainchant responsory sung here to an English translation published in the New English Hymnal amongst other collections. One might not think that plainchant and the massive acoustic of St. Paul's would go terribly well together, but in this case they do, quite magically. Following it is a four-part introit by Richard Farrant, "Call to remembrance, O Lord," which is an epitome of Tudor polyphony at its most moving and effective. Also effective, and even simpler, is Edward Bairstow's setting of verses from the Lamentations of Jeremiah: whilst Master of Music at York Minster, he composed a number of works in this vein, that are essentially Anglican psalm chants strung together. The atmosphere created in this extremely simple music, however, is truly remarkable. The inclusion of the chorus with treble duet from Mendelssohn's "Hymn of Praise" - "I waited for the Lord" - shows that music for Lent is not always solemn, and that the joy of the Easter message can still permeate Lent with a sense of hope.
The Passiontide music itself is even more emotionally-charged. Two important contributions to the choral repertoire for Passiontide are represented here: John Sanders' setting of "The Reproaches" juxtaposes elements of plainchant and a twentieth-century harmonic idiom to produce a very powerful and awe-inspiring work, fitting the text superbly (I can never forget the opening statement of "O my people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you?" - it is haunting above anything else.) Brian Chapple's motet "Ecce lignum crucis" is more specific to the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir as it was written for them. It is a stark piece, dignified and if anything understated, yet very moving and by all means accessible - I wonder why it isn't heard more often elsewhere in English cathedrals... "Christus factus est pro nobis" is one of the most famous of Bruckner's unaccompanied motets, and here receives an absolutely stunning performance, as draining to listen to as it must have been to record. Similar intensity is brought by the choir to Lotti's famous eight-part setting of "Crucifixus etiam pro nobis" - a staple of cathedral choirs during Passiontide. In complete contrast - yet no less moving - is the three-verse hymn "Drop, drop slow tears" by Orlando Gibbons, performed here with one verse by unaccompanied trebles, then in four-part harmony, then finally with a solo treble (Anthony Way, incidentally, 'before he was famous') and the other voices humming. I am constantly amazed at how this arrangement can bring out emotions deeper even than the more 'sophisticated' through-composed works that precede it in this programme...
Easter is ushered in with another hymn: Charles Wood's harmonisation of a Dutch carol set to the words "This joyful Eastertide," which is guaranteed to appear on church music lists throughout the Christian world on Easter Day each year. It is always like a breath of fresh air, evocative of the fresh feeling that somehow always seems to emerge in worship on an Easter Sunday. Bairstow's setting of Psalm 114 is an Eastertide companion piece to his "Lamentation" - it too consists of a couple of related psalm chants, with an imaginative use of the organ to reflect "the presence of the God of Jacob." The Tudor style of Church Music is represented again in Peter Philips' intricate and joyful motet "Ecce vincit Leo;" at the end of the sequence is Britten's "Te Deum" in C, which sets a seal on the Eastertide feeling with its building of a cheerful atmosphere out of a quiet beginning, together with quirky rhythms and a glorious central section with a prominent part for an outstanding treble soloist.
As hinted above, this wonderful programme sounds glorious in the famed St. Paul's acoustic, but this is partly because the choir sings it so magnificently. John Scott draws the contrasting emotions out of them most intuitively; he is finely assisted by the playing of Andrew Lucas and his team of soloists (three trebles and two basses, all drawn from the choir) is immaculate.
Utterly recommendable, particularly for being such a clear window on a season of the Church's year that has produced such a fine body of music. (And even if you don't go in for the elements of worship at the heart of this programme, it is still worth hearing for the excellent performance St. Paul's Cathedral Choir.)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9becb24c) out of 5 stars An attractive anthology, sung in the finest Anglican choral tradition 20 April 2015
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I was given this as a combined Eastertide and birthday gift (the two often coincide) and have already derived much pleasure from it. I am more familiar with Catholic rather than the Anglican liturgical music and tend to shy away from a lot of what I hear as Victorian pieties but there are several items here I find exceptionally beautiful and even the few I don't especially warm to are interesting.

Just a word about the acoustic: the result of being recorded in St Paul's, it is hence very broad and slightly fuzzy with a constant "white noise" in the background; it's not distracting but it's there. However, words are clear, even if I baulk these days at the rather precious diction preserved in English choral schools. Still this was recorded twenty years ago and the angelic choristers are now probably slightly paunchy bankers with mortgages and burgeoning families, so perhaps that cut-glass pronunciation is on the wane - or being modified.

My predilection for Renaissance polyphonic music means that I inevitably favour the three pieces by Farrant, Gibbons and Philips respectively, but Bairstow's "Lamentations" has a strangely haunting quality and I am an absolute sucker for the lush sentimentality and gorgeous harmonies of Mendelssohn's "I waited for the Lord", with two trebles singing with such a clean line and accurate intonation. the grandest work here is Bruckner's great motet "Christus factus est" which ranges so freely over different keys and has such a wide tessitura. The more modern pieces are clearly rooted in traditional idioms so I have no difficulty in appreciating their sound world and the standard of singing is so high throughout that everything affords pleasure.The exception for me is Britten's "Te Deum" but I have rarely been able to respond to his music so that comes as no surprise and I leave it to others to sing its praises; I cannot as I find his trademark tics irritating..

Otherwise, I thoroughly recommend this CD as a brief compendium of some of the finest church music drawn from the last 500 years.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c0da09c) out of 5 stars Words totally fail in trying to convey how beautiful this is. This is a perfect program of music for the whole of Easter. 29 Dec. 2008
By Pete - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I won't bother to try and convey how beautiful this is. But I would like to point out that its a perfect selection of music that for the whole Easter season, taking you from Jesus' crucifixion, death, resurrection. As one might have a program of music reflecting the whole Nativity story for Christmastime, this is the same for Easter. Its at times gloomy and sad, contemplative, and also fantastically celebratory. I just love it!
HASH(0x9c245f84) out of 5 stars Interesting seasonal music, 13 Dec. 2012
By A C Tompkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
good selection of seasonal music. provides good choral presentation of music from several periods. the record volume level is a bit low when played on portable machines.
HASH(0x9bce0060) out of 5 stars Five Stars 11 April 2015
By Rebecca J. Huddy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Very happy with CD, packaging/shipping good, good seller, would deal again
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