Via Crucis is a devotional journey charting the final moments of Jesus’ earthly life. The Passiontide prose of Eric Milner-White is interspersed with 15 musical reflections that cover the Good Friday story from ‘The Agony in Gethsemane’ to ‘The Burial’ in the tomb. Philip Moore’s musical reflections – the score of which was reviewed in Sunday by Sunday, no. 99 (December 2021) – beautifully capture the emotion and drama of these 15 readings. At times, the influence of Olivier Messiaen can be heard.
The acoustic of Guildford is another star of this recording. There’s little echo or reverb, which allows for great clarity, not just with the intricate harmonic writing or rhythmical urgency of some of Moore’s reflections, but also for Barry Orford’s narration to be heard cleanly and clearly. Organist Richard Moore gives virtuosic yet sensitive performances. This disc is not something you would listen to for an evening’s entertainment – it isn’t designed for that. However, as a liturgical concept, especially if you can’t attend a Holy Week service or if you wish to reflect on the Easter story, it is strongly recommended.