A highpoint in Anglican church music of the mid-19th century, the choral works of Samuel Sebastian Wesley also provide evidence that he is one of the handful of composers in England's history who deserves a full revival. His anthems reflect his personal individuality (which frequently brought him into conflict with clergy), and they are unusual for the period because they show more expressive power, harmonic ingenuity, and formal sophistication than was expected at the time. This album by Andrew Nethsingha and the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge, presents the most famous anthems, an Evening Service, and a Larghetto in F sharp minor for organ, along with two verse settings of Psalms 42 and 43 by the composer's father, Samuel Wesley. The singing by the men and boys of St. John's College is strong and pure, with clear diction and clear separation of the parts, and the organ accompaniment by John Challenger is present without becoming obtrusive. Chandos provides excellent sound, and the spacious resonance of the chapel's acoustics lends an aural halo to the voices.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Ascribe unto the Lord|
|The wilderness and the solitary place|
|O give thanks unto the Lord|