They that go down to the sea in ships begins this CD, not the Sumsion setting but Grayston Ives. So begins a sequence of maritime anthems and songs – familiar and less so. At first sight, there is a curious mix: hymns and folk-songs such as I the Lord of sea and sky, I am sailing again across the sea and blow the wind southerly mingle with anthems with a marine theme such as Jonathan Dove’s Vast Ocean of Light which has an electrifying performance. Malcolm Archer has provided and effective setting of Eternal Father, strong to save.
This is a spacious recording in Portsmouth Cathedral’s resonant and rather difficult acoustic; occasionally diction suffers but, that said, the choral sound here is young, vibrant and energetic. Released as a fundraiser for seafaring charities, I daresay it’ll find its way onto iPods of those sailors manning the night watch far from home.