WESLEY, SAMUEL SEBASTIAN / SAMUEL WESLEY Ascribe unto the Lord (Sacred Choral Works). John Challenger, Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge / Andrew Nethsingha. Chandos

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Wesley Samuel Sebastian Samuel Wesley College Cambridge Andrew Nethsingha Chandos

SAMUEL SEBASTIAN WESLEY / SAMUEL WESLEY

Ascribe unto the Lord

Sacred Choral Works

Ascribe unto the Lord / Wash me throughly from my wickedness / O give thanks unto the Lord / Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace / Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in E / Larghetto / The wilderness and the solitary place / O Thou who camest from above / Blessed be the God and Father

Samuel Wesley (1766-1837)

Psalms 42 and 43

Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge

John Challenger (organ)

Andrew Nethsingha

The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge has selected some of the best-known choral works of Samuel Sebastian Wesley for inclusion on this disc, interspersing them with one of his organ works as well as a psalm chant by his father, Samuel Wesley.

Samuel Sebastian Wesley was one of the most controversial characters in nineteenth-century English music, earning a reputation for inherent stubbornness, a highly critical mind set (particularly in relation to the church), and a unique pioneering spirit. All of which were character traits which became instrumental in the creation of the wholly new styles of church music, and the renewal of church practices, for which he became known.

The wilderness and the solitary place (c. 1832) is one such work, described by the conservative critic R.J.S. Stevens as ‘a clever thing. But it is not cathedral music’. This early work comes across as a compressed oratorio, or an operatic scena, with the overt emotions and huge range of textures on display unlike anything that had ever been heard in English church music before. In contrast, the mature Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace (c. 1850) shows the distance that Wesley had travelled since his earlier works on this disc. It is a model of simplicity and restraint, with a devotional close very much in the manner of Orlando Gibbons or William Byrd.

The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world, known and loved by millions for its recordings, broadcasts, and concert tours. For several decades it has performed around the world, including the US, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Australia, and of course Europe. It is also the only British choir to webcast services weekly throughout the year at www.sjcchoir.co.uk.

Chandos Records CHAN10751

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