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In the eighth release in Regent’s “A Year at” series we visit the Abbey Church in Tewkesbury, dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. Appropriately, the programme includes music for the major Marian feasts, as well as other main feasts of the church’s year. Additionally, the choir commissions a new work annually and three recent works, from David Bednall, Grayston Ives, and Matthew Martin, are included here. Two are receiving their first recording.
The Schola Cantorum’s raison d’etre is to sing Evensong during the week throughout school term time. This tradition at Tewkesbury was revived forty years ago in 1974 when the Choir of the Abbey School sang its first service of Choral Evensong. Since the Abbey School closed in 2006, the choristers have been educated at Dean Close Preparatory School in Cheltenham. Ever since, the sixteen boy choristers and the lay clerks have continued their daily offering of worship in the peaceful surroundings of the Abbey. In recent years the Schola Cantorum has appeared on a number of highly-regarded recordings.
† first recording, ‡ commissioned by the choir
Total Playing time: 75:07
Recorded on 9/10 March and 11/12 May 2015 in Tewkesbury Abbey
Recording producer and engineer: Gary Cole
Assistant: Benjamin Cole
Sample audio extracts
EDITOR’S CHOICE, Organists’ Review June 2016
‘This exploration of music appropriate to various elements of the liturgical year is welcome not only for the selection of music (which might also usefully serve to calibrate a director of music’s response to finding music for the challenges of the year), but also for the admirable recording of the performances. The choir is given appropriate presence to show their ensemble and vitality, and the idiomatic and inspiring organ accompaniments are recorded clearly whilst still allowing the total ensemble to lie heard. Overall, the Abbey’s superb acoustics can be experienced as an integral and supportive aspect of the whole.’
‘Tewkesbury Abbey is more than fortunate to have such an excellent choir as this — as it in turn is to have such an excellent musician as Bell as its director. A fine recording of uncommon musical interest.’ International Record Review, December 14