Stanford: Choral Music

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CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD
Stanford: Choral Music
Elizabeth Cragg (soprano), Catherine Hopper (mezzo), Robert Murray (tenor), David Soar (bass) / Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Bach Choir, David Hill

[ Naxos / CD ]

Release Date: Tuesday 20 September 2016

Choral music was central to Charles Villiers Stanford's life as a composer. Balancing solemnity with rapturous affirmation, The Resurrection was his first major choral work, written while he was studying under Carl Reinecke in Leipzig and anticipating Mahler's use of Klopstock's eponymous poem in his 'Resurrection' Symphony. The dramatic, at times almost operatic and Wagnerian Stabat Mater is a cantata with two purely orchestral movements suggestive of a large-scale symphony, while Song to the Soul contains some of Stanford's most exhilarating utterances, though it was never performed in his lifetime.

Directed by David Hill, The Bach Choir is recognised as one of the world's leading choruses, building upon a tradition that combines musical excellence with creativity and innovation. Described by the London Evening Standard as "probably the finest independent choir in the world", the choir values its independence, choosing to work with the very best orchestras and soloists. With a strong commitment to new music, The Bach Choir has commissioned works from some of the world's leading composers, including Sir John Tavener, Bob Chilcott and Jonathan Dove.

"This CD is fast lining itself up to be one of my 'discs of the year.'...the Stabat Mater is an absolute masterpiece and is stunningly presented on this CD...the opportunity to hear two major choral works by Stanford that I have never heard before makes this disc a real treasure. 'The Resurrection' and 'Song to the Soul' are two beautiful pieces of music that will long linger in the mind's ear." (Recording of the Month MusicWeb Nov 2016)

"[Hill's] fiery shaping of the Prelude to Stanford's Stabat Mater shows how responsive the Bournemouth orchestra has become to his direction; and his powerful shaping of the 'Stabat Mater dolorosa' movement locks players and singers tightly together in the sizzling crescendo at 'Pertransivit gladius'…the solo singing, heartfelt throughout, is particularly gripping in the opening stanza [of the final movement]" BBC Music

"Bravo to David Hill, the Bach Choir and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for bringing three neglected large-scale works by Charles Villiers Stanford to wider attention in this excellent recording... Clean-toned soprano Elizabeth Cragg stands out among the soloists." The Guardian

Tracks:

Song to the Soul, Op. 97b
Stabat Mater, Op. 96
The Resurrection, Op. 5