St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, Fitzwilliam String Quartet, Tom Wilkinson
Blow Salvator mundi, Voluntary in C Boyce O be joyful in the Lord, Voluntary no. 9 Clarke He shall send down from on high Greene Thou visitest the earth Handel Fugue in B flat Humphrey O Lord my God Jackson Hear me O God Purcell I will give thanks, Rejoice in the Lord alway
This beautiful CD explores music around Purcell, in the sense that works by Purcell are set in a context of music by his predecessors and followers, including the neglected William Jackson. The St Salvator’s Chapel Choir provide assured performances of this tricky repertoire, and (unidentified) soloists drawn from the ranks are also extremely competent in the ever-shifting chromatic world of the 17th-century verse anthem. The authentic Baroque instruments of the Fitzwilliam also make a superb contribution, proving more effective as stand-in viols in the early repertoire than I had imagined, while a subtle organ contribution to the ensemble from Sean Heath and organ solos by director Tom Wilkinson complete the line-up very pleasingly. The choir adapts readily to the progressing style of the music through the programme, and is well-prepared and sings with a lively accuracy and impeccable diction. William Jackson (1730-1803) was rediscovered by Gerald Finzi, and using his transcriptions which are housed at St Andrews University the choir have clearly warmed to this distinctive and largely unknown voice in English music, a voice which on the evidence of this recording deserves to be more widely performed. These young singers have distinguished themselves in what is clearly the first recording on their in-house label, which deserves to be the first of many.
D. James Ross