CD Reviews | CTD (Briefly Noted) | JFL (Dip Your Ears) | DVD Reviews


Briefly Noted: Stanford Commemorates World War I

available at Amazon
C.V. Stanford, Mass 'Via victrix' / At the Abbey Gate, K. Howarth, J. Dandy, R. Bowen, G. Brynmor John, BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, A. Partington

(released on May 3, 2019)
Lyrita SRCD382 | 79'58"
Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) is probably familiar mostly to choir singers, for his Latin motets and Anglican anthems and Evening Prayer services. The long-time director of the London Bach Choir, he knew how to wrote for a chorus. It turns out that the Irish composer also wrote seven symphonies, ten operas, and a pile of other music. This charming disc contains the first recordings of two of his late works for choir, soloists, and orchestra: the Mass 'Via victrix', setting of the Latin Ordinary composed in 1919 to commemorate the Allied victory in World War I, and the cantata At the Abbey Gate from 1920.

The Mass uses the full range of sounds from the four soloists, chorus, and orchestra. Stanford emphasizes resonant parts of the Latin text, returning to the words "et in terra pax" at the end of the Gloria and dwelling triumphantly on the final words of the Agnus Dei movement, "dona nobis pacem." Adrian Partington's forces, the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, respond with sensitivity and strength, impressive for a live performance in the recording of the Mass. The cantata is also connected to the commemoration of the Great War, set to a poem published in the wake of the entombment of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey.

No comments: