Many younger composers have their eyes on the prize of filling John Rutter's shoes, and on the evidence of In My Father's House, Philip Stopford may be coming around the bend in the top pack. A pleasing diatonicism guaranteed to make Classic FM listeners roll over and put their paws in the air: check. A wide knowledge of the Bible and of English poetry, and a knack for matching both to specific events in a seemingly personal way: check. An ability to break out beyond Britain's shores: check. Stopford has written music for major American commissions (sample the title track, written for a choir in Glen Ellyn, Illinois) and has served as conductor of Christ Church Bronxville outside New York. Stopford has also cultivated a long relationship with the choir Ecclesium, shaping it much as Rutter has shaped his handpicked Cambridge Singers. The relationship is not quite so close, though, and here Stopford has a happy meeting of the minds with the Truro Cathedral Choir: the group has a light, joyous sound, and they're clearly and cleanly recorded in their cathedral home. Most of Stopford's early music has been for unaccompanied choir or choir and organ, but here he offers orchestral pieces, for which the BBC National Orchestra of Wales is nicely suited. Stopford favors Christmas music here, and one can easily imagine several of the Christmas pieces on the last part of this program entering the repertory. If Rutter does not do it for you, Stopford most assuredly won't either, but Classic FM listeners and their American friends may have found a new compositional champion.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim