IN YOUR IMAGE: CAROLS FOR CHRISTMASTIDE
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About this release
This release give a snapshot of Christmastide music from Portsmouth Cathedral, with some well known works inter-dispersed lesser-known choral gems. Recorded in the stunning acoustics of Portsmouth Cathedral it makes use of the Nicholson organ.
Commissioned Programme Note
In common with other Cathedrals and Churches across the globe, the season of Advent and Christmas is a time when Portsmouth Cathedral welcomes large numbers of people to services or concerts.
All the music on the disc was sung at cathedral Christmas carol services in 2008 and 2009 with one exception – ‘In Your image’ is not strictly a Christmas carol, but it speaks of the incarnation and of humanity’s relationship with God our Father through Christ His Son. The ‘Advent Responsary’ is often sung at the start of Advent or Christmas carol services and this version weaves the advent hymn ‘Sleepers Wake’ within its textures. ‘Once in Royal’ adorns most churches’ celebrations and we use Sir David Willcock’s familiar harmonies and descant made famous by the King’s College Cambridge Carol of Nine Lessons and Carols. ‘Veiled in Darkness’ is a haunting carol speaking of the Advent hope of Christ’s Coming into the world whilst ‘Let us Light a Candle’ unveils the joy of the Child’s birth in Bethlehem.
‘Away in a Manger’, here arranged by David Hill (during his time as Organist of Winchester Cathedral) continues the story of the new born babe and is followed by Estonian-born Arvo Pärt’s highly stylised Hymn to the Virgin Mother. The promise of Mary, Mother of Jesus as foretold in the Old Testament is set to music by Howells with a beautiful bass solo line.
Franz Grüber’s famous ‘Silent Night’ returns to its simple origins through Christine Gymnn’s gentle setting and is followed by the more boistrous ‘Good King Wenceslas‘. The disc concludes with the magisterial medieval hymn, ‘Of the Father’s heart begotten’ followed by a fresh and jaunty arrangement of ‘Ding Dong merrily on high’.
(Dr. David Price, 2010)
About the artists
The Cathedral Choir is made up of twenty-four boy choristers and fourteen gentlemen (made up of seven lay-clerks and up to seven choral scholars) who contribute to the pattern of daily cathedral worship. The choristers rehearse on weekday mornings at 8.00am before a normal school day in preparation for the week’s music. In any normal week the Cathedral Choir sings for at least 5 services.
The choristers are educated at Portsmouth Grammar School that, as such acts as our choir school. Opportunities exist for counter-tenor, tenor or basses who, having completed their school or university education, are looking for the chance to sing and work within a cathedral foundation for a year with a Choral Scholarship.
The choir plays an important role in the life of the Diocese and City by singing at Ordination, Confirmation, Civic and Remembrance services. The choir is often invited to sing at churches throughout the Diocese of Portsmouth. The Royal Marines’ School of Music is now based in Portsmouth, and the choir and Orchestra or Band of the Royal Marines regularly work together.
The choir has been at the heart of recent DDay Commemorations in Caen and Bayeux in Normandy, France and here in the UK. The ceremonies saw BBC Radio broadcasts, a concert in Caen with the London Mozart Players and appearing at the International Service of Remembrance at Bayeux in the presence of HM The Queen, President of France and The Prime Minster and an International Drumhead Service on Southsea Common in the presence of The Princess Royal.
The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and death of Lord Nelson involved the choir performing at a number of international and national events. Notable amongst those was the International Drumhead Ceremony during in the International Festival of the Sea in June, and at events aboard Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, during Trafalgar Week (including three BBC radio and TV broadcasts). Our ‘Nelson year’ concluded with a live broadcast of Choral Evensong on BBC Radio 3 on the day 200 years ago that Nelson’s body sailed from Portsmouth to London for his State Funeral.
In addition to his duties as Organist & Master of Choristers at Portsmouth Cathedral, Dr. David Price serves on the committee of RSCM Portsmouth and is a member of the Council of the Royal School of Church Music. The University of Portsmouth conferred David Price with an Honorary Doctorate of Music in recognition of the significant contribution he has made to the development of music at the Cathedral and for his contribution to the cultural life of the city.
In 2009 his St John Passion for Good Friday was published by Encore Publications in a series of the gospel passions alongside John Scott, Philip Moore and Richard Lloyd. In 2013 he was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of The Guild of Church Musicians.
- In Your Image - Anthony Green, arr. Paul Leddington Wright
- Advent Responsory - Richard Marlow
- Once in Royal David's City - Henry Gauntlett
- Veiled in Darkness - Glen Rudolph
- Let us Light a Candle to the Christ Child - June Clark
- Away in a Manger - arr. David Hill
- Bogoroditsye Dyevo - Arvo Pärt
- A Spotless Rose - Herbert Howells
- Silent Night - Christine Gymnn
- Good King Wenceslas - arr. Reginald Jacques
- Of the Father's Heart begotten - arr. Sir David Willcocks
- Ding Dong Merrily on High - arr. Stuart Nicholson
- Finale (movement IV), Symphony No. I - Louis Vierne
Catalogue Number: CR005
Choir Portsmouth Cathedral Choir
Organist Marcus Wibberley
Conductor Dr. David Price
Photography Tom Kuglin
Engineering Adrian Green, Kevin Hodgson
Mastering Adaq Khan
Producer Adrian Green
Creative Director John Bevan
Executive Producer Adrian Green
Recorded July 2009, July 2010
Venue Portsmouth Cathedral
Total Duration 47 mins