George Arthur [Richford] is a multi-award-winning composer based in Hampshire, published by Universal Editions, Music Sales, Shorterhouse and the Guild of Church Musicians. His music has been broadcast by BBC Radios 3 & 4 and BBC Television, most notably on the occasion of the Commonwealth Commemoration Service live from Glasgow Cathedral.
This is an impressive recording in many ways, yet a curious one. All the music is credited with a time span extending over the course of a five-year period. It is distinguished by outstanding singing, the great majority of it unaccompanied. Where the singing is accompanied, it is to the glorious playing of harpist Cecily Beer, a specialist in the art of combining in such ensemble work and, on the evidence of this recording, a player of real distinction and discernment; it comes as no surprise to learn from her biographical note that she is also a professional singer.
The styles range from the simplicity of an Evensong canticle setting to a much more elaborate Mass, with carols alongside numerous motets. With the exceptions of the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis and a few carol settings, including Tomorrow shall be my dancing day, a detailed preliminary study of the helpful programme note is strongly recommended before embarking on tackling the multi-segmented works. At almost an hour and a half’s duration, over two CDs totalling 25 tracks, this is emphatically a recording not to be devoured all at one go to achieve a positive listening experience!