Clive Osgood’s Sacred Choral Music (CR049)

Review by Cross Rhythms (Steven Whitehead)

Listen and buy now on Convivium Records

As the well-known cliché almost says, this does what is says on the cover and I quote, “Robert Lewis leads Excelsis and London Mozart Players in Clive Osgood’s sacred choral music.” Excelsis is a chamber choir formed in 2007, led by conductor Robert Lewis, with an excellent blend of voices. While we are praising the singing, I must add a word of appreciation for the fine work from soprano soloist Rebecca Moon: well sung! (although that is two words).

The orchestral accompaniment comes from the London Mozart Players. The LMP date back to 1949, making it the UK’s longest established chamber orchestra. While the Players specialise in the music of Mozart (obviously) and Haydn (obvious when you think about it) they give a splendid account of themselves in the music of Clive Osgood who, while being no Mozart (but then who is?) writes enjoyably tuneful music. Mr Osgood is currently director of music at St Bartholomew’s Church in Haslemere, Surrey and teaches music at the Reed’s School, Cobham. He is involved in amateur music making in the community, and many of the smaller pieces on the disc were written for such groups. The easiest comparison would be with John Rutter as Osgood writes music that choirs and audiences enjoy and, where appropriate, worshippers will find uplifting. Osgood sets a mix of Latin and English texts, opening with “Dixit Dominus” (Psalm 110) which is pleasantly accessible without perhaps being as stirring as the original Hebrew. It does, though, invite us in and makes us want to listen on. The first English text is George Herbert’s “Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life” which is again approachable and could be successfully presented by choirs of differing levels, which is true also of the Medieval English carol “Alleluia! A New Work Is Come On Hand” which would be a good addition to any choir’s Christmas repertoire. My personal favourite is Osgood’s new setting to that old classic “Brightest And Best” with words by Reginald Heber but there is nothing in this collection that is not worth hearing and much that would be a beneficial addition to any choir or congregation’s repertoire. My home congregation does not sing in Latin so some of the material is wasted on us but as a listener I would be happy to hear any or all of it in a concert programme. If the thought of contemporary choral music makes you uneasy rest assured that this disc is most approachable and all the music is played and sung very well indeed.

Steven Whitehead, for Cross Rhythms, 22nd September 2019

Further Information

Cross Rhythms

Cross Rhythms

Cross Rhythms was started by Chris and Kerry Cole over 30 years ago. They saw that a media voice for the Christian faith was vital to get the Christian response to society’s ills back into the marketplace of everyday lives.

The radio began in 1983 with a half-hour programme on Plymouth Sound, an ILR station in Devon. The magazine was first published in April 1990, the first festival was held in 1991, the website was initially launched in 1995, the first Community Radio licence was awarded in 2002, the Media Training Centre was launched in 2012 and a Cross Rhythms supported online radio station in Bethlehem was launched in 2015.

Through all these mediums, Cross Rhythms is typified by using contemporary Christian music that can culturally engage with people who are outside the churches in today’s society. Cross Rhythms has also looked to communicate the Christian faith in a language that is accessible to contemporary culture but doesn’t water down it’s truths.

Visit website: Cross Rhythms

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.

Convivium Records involves musicians and composers in all decisions relating to their projects. For instance, this may include initial discussions about a new album, to recording, distribution, promotion and marketing.

At the heart of Convivium Records is a dedicated team, each of whom bring their expertise to projects as required. Above all, the Label’s ambition is to exceed the expectations of their clients by creating recordings that reflect their true potential.

Media Enquiries, Review Copies & Contact
For press enquiries, information, or to request review copies of this work, please visit: www.conviviumrecords.co.uk/contact

Or contact Mike Cooter, Communications Director: mike@conviviumrecords.co.uk | T. 07941 871258

For latest news, follow Convivium Records on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ConviviumRecords

Twitter: www.twitter.com/ConviviumUK