Most readers are surely aware that this is no ordinary school choir. The treble line is supplied by the quiristers, boys who are educated at The Pilgrims’ School along with Winchester Cathedral’s choristers, and the alto, tenor and bass parts are provided by senior pupils of Winchester College (and a few members of staff); the result is highly professional and a credit to all concerned.
This programme is a judicious mixture of old favourites and some less familiar works whose acquaintance the listener will enjoy making. I was especially glad to find the Mattins canticles from the C major Service, and that very fine anthem If ye then be risen with Christ, praised by Fellowes but sadly neglected. A highlight is the Song of Wisdom, sung in unison by the trebles, who rise with the utmost aplomb to a perfectly controlled high B flat; the Song is followed as Stanford intended by O for a closer walk with God, the Hymn after a Song of Wisdom, a title which has baffled more than one chorister. My only regret is that we are given Stanford’s fine hymn-tune Engelberg with Fred Pratt Green’s somewhat contrived text When, in our music, God is glorified rather than For all the saints, the words for which it was intended. This scarcely detracts from a very fine CD which I have greatly enjoyed and which I warmly recommend.