From Captivity to the Holy City

Victor Hill, Ph.D., The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, September, 2003

The title refers to music for the progression from Ash Wednesday to Pentecost, though many of the selections have wider possible use. For example, the marvelous (albeit challenging) Chichester Mass of William Albright that opens the disc could be used at almost any time. The unaccompanied anthem De profundis (1995) by John Muehleisen (texts drawn from Psalms of Ascents 130, 137, 120, 126, and 122) is brilliantly crafted; at ten minutes it is probably too long for an ordinary church service, but it is well worth hearing and might find a welcome place in a special Lenten service.

The Crux fidelis of Domenico Bartolucci and an excerpt from Szymanowski‘s Stabat Mater are in more traditional harmonies and are welcome additions to the program. The Vani Creator Spiritus by Adam Rener (1485-1520) is, for me, a wonderful discovery. The disc concludes with the lively spiritual Hark, I hear the harps eternal, arranged by Alice Parker.

Standard works by Parry, Gibbons, Ives, Bainton, Stanford, and Finzi are all beautifully performed by this fine vocal group Opus 7, which is the professional ensemble resident at St. James Roman Catholic Cathedral in Seattle. They sing with especially clean tone and sensitive phrasing. The engineering by Bill Levey and Sarah Holberg is exemplary. The liner includes notes, texts, and biographies.

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