Tudor Choir Book II

The Tudor Choir Book, Volume II (CR040)

Review by Cross Rhythms (Steven Whitehead)

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This release is the culmination of 12 months of intensive work and study for the boy choristers of Romsey Abbey. Director of Music George Richford has long believed that contemporary choirboys can engage with Tudor music and that the verse-anthem genre is a suitable starting point. Richford’s interesting and perceptive introductory notes in the CD booklet develop his thinking and outline some of the challenges and other choir directors will find much to think about. The detailed programme notes are also worth reading and give modern listeners a much greater understanding of what these Tudor composers were trying to achieve. Many of the great names of the period are present and correct on this album, including William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, William Mundy, the Thomases Tallis and Tomkins, along with several others from, shall we say, the B-list although with a programme running to just 55 minutes we wonder if perhaps room could have been made for John Taverner. It is interesting to compare and contrast how Thomas Morely and Adrian Batten set the same text: “Out Of The Deep” (Psalm 130). To my ears Morley is more memorable but Batten is not bad. Highlights for me are Byrd’s “Magnificat” and “Nunc Dimitis” from his ‘Second Evening Service’ in a new edition prepared by Andrew Johnstone – and I again refer you to the liner notes for the full story. Also I particularly enjoyed the closing “Fancy For A Double Orgaine” by Gibbons, here played by Adrian Taylor on the St Teilo Tudor organ by Goetze & Gwynn and – guess what – if you want more details read the album booklet. In all, this recording will be appreciated by students of musical history and any with an interest in historical research will also be given food for thought. The music itself is well worth hearing and while the Romsey Abbey Choir cannot match the great cathedral or Oxbridge chapel choirs they give us their best which is all we can ask for.

Steven Whitehead, for Cross Rhythms, 20th April 2018

Further Information

Cross Rhythms

Cross Rhythms

Cross Rhythms was started by Chris and Kerry Cole over 30 years ago. They saw that a media voice for the Christian faith was vital to get the Christian response to society’s ills back into the marketplace of everyday lives.

The radio began in 1983 with a half-hour programme on Plymouth Sound, an ILR station in Devon. The magazine was first published in April 1990, the first festival was held in 1991, the website was initially launched in 1995, the first Community Radio licence was awarded in 2002, the Media Training Centre was launched in 2012 and a Cross Rhythms supported online radio station in Bethlehem was launched in 2015.

Through all these mediums, Cross Rhythms is typified by using contemporary Christian music that can culturally engage with people who are outside the churches in today’s society. Cross Rhythms has also looked to communicate the Christian faith in a language that is accessible to contemporary culture but doesn’t water down it’s truths.

Visit website: Cross Rhythms

Convivium Records

Convivium Records

Convivium Records (est. 2009) is committed to working with exceptional artists and composers to record and share their music. It recognises that a great recording project needs to establish a balance between artistic aspirations and commercial expectations. In addition to commercial releases, the label takes on private projects for schools, charities and other institutions.

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At the heart of Convivium Records is a dedicated team, each of whom bring their expertise to projects as required. Above all, the Label’s ambition is to exceed the expectations of their clients by creating recordings that reflect their true potential.

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