Hugh Benham’s Sacred Choral Music (CR050)

Review by Peter Thompson, St Cecilia Gazette

Listen and buy now on Convivium Records

Hugh Benham is chairman of the academic board of the Guild of Church Musicians, an organist, teacher, academic, examiner—as well as a fine composer. Several CDs of his compositions have been released, including A Triumph Song (Convivium Records, 2011) and Hugh Benham: Sacred Coral Music (2019), and these are both excellent introductions to his writing—both feature on my regular Spotify playlists. The lush harmonies of Love came down at Christmas and Ave Maria are a delight to the ear, and it is not hard to sing along to Glorious things of thee are spoken.

During lockdown I obtained copies of three of his organ works from United Music Publishing (www.ump.co.uk). The first is from 2012, but only published this year, the Prelude on ‘Ave Maris Stella’ a short but delightfully evocative improvisation on the well-known plainsong theme. I discovered this piece a few years ago and gave its Irish and Northern Irish premieres, and found it a gem to add to both the service and recital repertoire. I was thrilled that the published score was dedicated to me.

Mysterium fidei, the mystery of faith is an utterly ravishing piece which entwines the sinuous style of Gregorian chant with harmony which is thoroughly modern, drawing the listener in a timeless manner to the gate of heaven. In contrast to the mystery is the exuberence of Trinity Voluntary, particularly in the very fine recording by Malcolm Archer.

Peter Thompson, St Cecilia Gazette, January 2021

Further information

Fraternity of St Cecilia

The Fraternity of St Cecilia is a social and learned society for musicians. It is not an examining body. Its members are found across the globe and come from many walks of life with a shared interest in music.

Although the Fraternity is open to all musicians, its founding members are primarily church musicians.

Membership is conferred by the Fraternity’s governing chapter in two categories: Fellow and Associate.

Visit website: Fraterinty of St Cecilia

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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