The Irish-English composer Charles Villiers Stanford appears to have transcended his status as Victorian relic, with new recordings of his choral music and seven symphonies showing up on best-seller charts. For a good sampling of Stanford's choral works, with a fine Bachian Fantasia and Toccata in D minor, Op. 57, for organ added in, look no further than this Hyperion release. Stanford was associated with the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, for some years, and its mixed-gender, adult composition is suited to joyous anthems like For lo, I raise up, Op. 145, where you might start sampling: the music gets a bit of an oomph that you may have been missing in Stanford in the past. Three unaccompanied motets, cleanly done, were recorded in Trinity College Chapel, but the bulk of music comes instead from Hereford Cathedral, whose organ is superb (see the nice booklet note) and where the organ-accompanied choral works turn out with the brilliance that is characteristically Stanford. The program covers service music and ends stirringly with St. Patrick's Breastplate, a setting of an Irish hymn reputedly composed by St. Patrick himself. A fine outing from Trinity and its conductor, Stephen Layton, superbly recorded by Hyperion.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Service in C major, Op. 115|
|Three Motets Op.38|
|Service in C major, Op.115|
|Service in C major, Op 115|
|Fantasia and Toccata in D minor Op.57|