|On Good Friday 2012, the choir
of Christ Church, New Mill performed Maunder's cantata Olivet to Calvary for the first
time in over 50 years. This cantata had previously been performed
biennially, in alternation with Stainer's Crucifixion, as was done by many
churches and chapels in the early twentieth century. Both of
these fell out of use, although the Stainer work has been performed
three or four times in the last 40 years or so.
The music, although very typically Victorian, is colourful and musical, and the choir enjoyed preparing and performing it. In 1966, Guildford Cathedral choir with Barry Rose and Peter Moorse, recorded the work, much to the surprise of the critics of the time who it appears had been conditioned to look down on Mauder's music. This Guildford recording remains a superb rendition of Olivet to Calvary, which Christ Church's performance makes no claim to equal. However, it is hoped that the New Mill recording is representative of a good Parish Choir performance.
The tracks on the CD are taken mostly from a recording of the live performance in April 2012; some tracks were recorded during rehearsal. There is some background noise in places, but the recording is enhanced by the singing of soloists Harold Earnshaw and David Kaye.
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ALL profits from the sale of this CD will go to Christ Church, New Mill, currently towards necessary repairs on the organ.
The choirmaster of Christ Church, New Mill, Geoffrey Lockwood, writes:
Christ Church’s robed choir was formed in the 1860s, and has enjoyed a high reputation since that time. I myself joined the choir around 1959 as a young treble: there were around a dozen boys and maybe fifteen or so men in the choir at that time, who maintained a good lead to the music at both morning and evening Sunday services. Eventually my voice broke and I moved to the bass section. During the 1960s and early 70s, the boys’ section of the choir expanded (more than 24 boys at one time), and the standards of singing rose, mainly due to the efforts with the choir of choirmasters Geoffrey Richardson and Thomas Bradshaw, who together with independent teacher Dorothy Drinkwater gave private singing lessons to several of the boys. These boys were also successful in competitive musical festivals at that time. So when I returned from a spell at university to take over as choirmaster in 1973, I was privileged to inherit a superb set of 13 boy choristers. Unfortunately, the 1970s also saw a general decline in church choir membership nationally as well as locally, and it proved impossible to maintain recruitment of boys. Currently the choir is mixed, with adults and children, both male and female.
However, I did record the boys of that generation, just before their voices broke. During the Easter school holidays of 1976, the boys gathered in church to make a recording, mostly of hymns, but with a few solos. This was issued as a cassette for sale to support the choir fund. Tracks 1 to 13 of this CD are from a digital re-mastering of that cassette, and tracks 14 to 19 are digital re-mastered from other recordings I made between 1975 and 1978.
It may be of interest that the boys did not excel just at singing - in the same period they won the diocesan inter-choirs football shield (and came second in the final in another year), beating the much larger choir from Wakefield cathedral.
Organ accompaniments on the CD are by Geoffrey Lockwood, as are most of the piano accompaniments. Derick Lockwood was the accompanist on track 19.
|CHRIST CHURCH CHORISTERS TRACK
1. Ding dong! merrily on high (1:47)
2. See amid the winter’s snow (3:35)
3. Love one another (from Blessed be the God and Father) (2:57)
4. Nunc Dimittis (1:25)
5. This joyful Eastertide (2:45)
6. Jesus Christ is risen today (2:28)
7. Come, ye thankful people, come (1:33)
8. Now thank we all our God (1:57)
9. Abide with me (3:49)
10. Our day of praise is done (2:50)
11. An Eriskay love lilt (2:28)
12. The holy city (Adams / Weatherly) (5:10)
13. The lost chord (Sullivan) (3:53)
14. I will sing of thy great mercies (St. Paul - Mendelssohn) (2:24 )
15. My voice shalt thou hear (Corfe) (2:42)
16. O praise the Lord (Boyce) (2:20)
17. O praise the Lord (Greene) ( 2:16)
18. I follow thee also (St. John Passion - Bach) (3:53 )
19. Where’er you walk (Handel) (4:08)
TOTAL RUNNING TIME 55:07
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