“This exceptional group delivers each word and note with radiant sound.”
American Record Guide
Anglican Psalmody came into its own in the nineteenth century and since then, it has become one of the most beloved sources of meditation in the English parish churches and cathedrals as well as here in America. Gloriæ Dei Cantores has compiled a set of three recordings that include psalms ranging in emotion from personal sorrow to grateful elation. Each psalm includes a meditation in the enclosed booklet. This set includes Thou Art My Refuge, His Love Endures Forever, and He Has Heard My Voice all recorded in the superb acoustic of Gloriæ Dei Cantores' home, the Church of the Transfiguration in Orleans, MA.
“Anglican chant — a harmonized form of liturgical chanting, primarily of psalms – isn't like anything else in music. Although it’s closer in style to speech than traditional monodic Gregorian chant, the harmonizations – and thus the requirement for a particular type of singing ensemble – removes it from the impersonal and functional to the realm of a more artistic, performance-conscious purpose. To sing Anglican chant – and especially to sing it properly – you need a choir of mixed voices who have mastered the myriad aspects and subtleties of phrasing, inflection, articulation, tonal balances, dynamics, and the often debatable rules of pointing, not to mention the necessities of coordinating with the supporting – and sometimes ornamented – organ accompaniment. Outside of British record shops or cathedral gift stores, you rarely see a recording of real live Anglican chant – certainly not on this side of the Atlantic – so it’s refreshing to discover that the very fine Massachusetts based Gloriæ Dei Cantores, known for its many Gregorian chant recordings (among many other choral-music projects), has undertaken a three-volume series to explore, and hopefully expose new listeners to, this exceptional, unique, and affecting body of liturgical music.
There are 22 psalm settings covered here, by a wide range of composers writing in predominantly traditional styles – in other words, this volume doesn’t contain any of the more recently composed or harmonically “adventurous” settings some listeners will be familiar with. What we do get is the essence of Anglican chant sound and style – and thanks to the superb efforts of this very sensitive, responsive choir, its knowing director, and a pair of first-rate organists, we experience something of the uniquely expressive power inherent in this manner of psalm-singing, which in its most accomplished form allows phrases to flow and important individual words their full presence and meaning.
I was happy to hear several of my favorite settings – especially the Wesley for Psalms 42 and 43, the Goss for Psalm 11, and Aylward for Psalm 138 – as well as many beautiful unfamiliar ones. I only wish that the choir and organ were recorded in a more favorable – that is, less noisy – acoustic. Perhaps a bit more distance, or a slight dampening or reconfiguring of the live, resonant space would help. At any rate, it’s a treat to hear this music so well realized and enthusiastically sung (supported by some very nice organ work). I’m looking forward to volume 2!”
David Vernier Classics Today
- “... a delight to hear ... intonation and diction are of the highest order ... this recording could be especially helpful for private prayer and meditation.”
“Volume 1 (of 3), Thou Art My Refuge, contains selections from the “Psalms of Lament.” As is appropriate, the tone is somber and subtle. Both voice and music, albeit the music is minimal, communicates the depth of our need and the quiet assurance of God’s provision. These Volumes, although likely not intended for this purpose, are perfect for these smaller congregations as a means for enhancing meditation, worship, catechesis and training. As well, being centered in the Psalter, they are very useful in our private worship by setting the tone for both seasonal considerations and self-reflection. Paraclete Press, rooted as it is within liturgical renewal and reform, has provided us with wonderful resources for personal reflection and congregational renewal.”
The Very Rev. Dr. Donald P. Richmond, Obl.OSB. Forward in Christ
- “Patterson brings to the recording the experience of leading these singers in daily worship. The singers enunciate clearly and devoutly, with gentle support from organ accompaniment... ”