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John C. Hughes
Choral Journal, March 2014

Harrison beautifully plays two organ solos on the CD. The purity of the children’s voices is not only true to what Ireland would have been accustomed but also lends a sense of transparency to Ireland’s sometimes thick textures. Throughout the recording, Prentice chooses bright tempos, which is refreshing, as many conductors are tempted to luxuriate in the music’s depth and lushness. The organ registrations chosen by Harrison offer tasteful contrasts to the purity and homogeneity of the Lincoln Cathedral Choir’s tone. The recording is a good reference for Ireland’s church works and also has a pleasing sense of pacing. The programming and order of pieces retains the listener’s interest throughout the CD. Listeners will enjoy it both as a whole or when consulting individual tracks. It is hoped that conductors with no familiarity or merely cursory knowledge of John Ireland’s choral music will consult this CD, as it contains expert renditions of works worthy of more frequent performance. © 2014 Choral Journal

John Quinn
MusicWeb International, October 2013

The Te Deum…was composed in 1907 but the Benedictus and the Evening Canticles followed in 1914/15 and these three pieces are unified especially by a common doxology. Aric Prentice and his Lincoln choir perform these…pieces very well indeed: the Te Deum is a well-chosen opener to their programme for they give it a stirring performance.

Sampford…is a good one; it’s vigorous, confident and…very singable.

Inevitably—and rightly—Aric Prentice has included in his programme the Passiontide anthem Greater love hath no man. A spirited, sensitive performance by a really good church choir accompanied by organ is much more satisfying and that’s exactly what we get here. The other anthem is Ex ore innocentium for high voices…It receives a first rate performance here, launched by a very good solo soprano, Ffion Frazher. The Lincoln choristers sing this exquisite little piece with lovely bright tone.

Also most enjoyable are the four unaccompanied carols. The best known is The Holy Boy…It’s sensitively done here. I also enjoyed very much the performance of Adam lay ybounden with its nice swinging tune.

Throughout this programme the Lincoln Cathedral choir is on top form and I enjoyed their singing very much: clearly Aric Prentice has trained them well. Charles Harrison contributes some excellent accompaniments—and two good solos.

This disc is very well worth hearing by all who love the music of the English Church. The music is rewarding and enjoyable and it’s been splendidly served by the musicians of Lincoln Cathedral. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Ian Lace
MusicWeb International, June 2013

The whole Naxos programme is memorable: the Communion Service in C, for instance, with its Fauré-like Kyrie, the lovely Sanctus and the magnificent Gloria. Then there is the uplifting Te Deum in F and the glorious Evening Service in F with its moving Nunc Dimitis. The delightful Capriccio is joyous throughout…

This disc is a treat not only for John Ireland enthusiasts but for all lovers of English church music. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Lindsay Koob
American Record Guide, May 2013

The…selections are all appealing and well crafted, including two excellent pieces for organ.

…this unique survey should interest every serious English sacred choral fan. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Gary Higginson
MusicWeb International, March 2013

The present disc was recorded during the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the composer’s death. Hearing these works again, freshly now, after several years of being away from them, I have come to realise what skill Ireland manifests in these settings. We can relish those pleasing harmonies, the imaginative word-painting and the memorable melodic lines.

…this is a good anthology of standard compositions by a man who made a life-long and significant contribution to England’s church music heritage.

All in all then, this disc is a must for any lover of English church music. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Terry Blain
BBC Music Magazine, January 2013

Here’s an excellent idea: a whole CD of John Ireland’s church music, which tends to be scattered piecemeal in anthologies. The impression it makes is very positive…the clean attach and alluring tonal finish of the boy-girl sopranos catch the ear particularly…the tutti singing is convincingly uninhibited. © 2013 BBC Music Magazine

Christopher Nickol
Gramophone, January 2013

Lincoln Cathedral Choir under Aric Prentice’s enthusiastic direction give excellent performances, with impeccable blend and ensemble.

A very enjoyable and rewarding disc, showcasing the fine quality of British cathedral music-making. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Dan Morgan - Download News 2013/1
MusicWeb International, January 2013

Naxos, having already done well by John Ireland’s orchestral and chamber music, now turn their attention to his church music to good effect. The music is a miracle of conciseness and the performances are very good… © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2012

John Ireland’s early career was as an organist, and though not an extensive part of his output, he composed church music for much of his life. It remains in use in England as much loved hymns, the anthem Greater love hath no man having become particularly known as part of the remembrance services for those killed in conflicts. He was a religious man who enjoyed the ceremonial aspects of the church, the disc opening with the imposing Te Deum with its highly effective organ accompaniment. Yet as we journey through the disc, we find it is the simplicity of expression that creates an atmosphere of pastoral Christianity. The Communion Service is very gentle, even in the final Gloria in excelsis, and there are pure delights awaiting in the Four unaccompanied Carols that include one of his most familiar melodies, The Holy Boy, a piano prelude to which he later added words. Maybe I am wrong, but the short work for unaccompanied male voices that is described on the track listing as Island Praise, I have always known as An Island Hymn. The disc also contains two substantial works for organ, the Elegiac Romance and Capriccio, played on the fine and largely unchanged ‘Father’ Willis instrument of 1898. The choir of Lincoln Cathedral is one of the largest and most highly respected in provincial England, their work going outside the confines of church music. It does not have those ‘hooty’ trebles that have become fashionable, the choir gaining in quality by taking them into the texture of the mature voices. The engineers have captured the feel of a church acoustic without the excess reverberation of this venue. Words are included in the booklet. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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