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Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, March 2017

The choir St. Albans Abbey celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016. The 19 girls, ages eight to 14, are musical and technically accomplished, with a pleasing blend and luminous sound, and—aided in part by vivid recording—impress with their focus and energy. They are joined in most numbers by the 15 fine lay clerks of the St. Albans Cathedral Choir. The cathedral’s impressive neo-classical 1962/2007 Harrison and Harrison organ is well presented both by the recording and by the skill of organ scholar Michael Papadopoulos. Conductor Tom Winpenny proves a fine organist, as well, in the ebullient Toccata Giocosa (1967) in addition to being a first-rate choral leader. Orchestra and pianists are winning in the Salvator Mundi. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



John Quinn
MusicWeb International, February 2017

This is a fine collection of music by this important Welsh composer who might have achieved so much more had he not died aged only 58. The singing throughout the programme is first rate. Tom Winpenny has clearly prepared the singers thoroughly and he directs them equally well. He is the Assistant Master of the Music at St Alban’s Cathedral where the Girls Choir is his particular responsibility. We also hear him, briefly, in his role as organist, giving a sparkling rendition of the exuberant Toccata Giocosa. Elsewhere the organ parts, all of them challenging, are safe in the hands of Michael Papadopoulos. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Robert Delcamp
American Record Guide, January 2017

This is an excellent selection of sacred works ranging from [Mathias’] 1961 ‘All Thy Works Shall Praise Thee’ to the 1992 ‘Lord’s Prayer’, written four months before he died. Winpenny directs a first-rate choir which gives vigorous, exciting performances. The girls, ages 8–14, sing with technical assurance and intelligent musicality, proving that children do not have to be patronized and are fully capable of performing “adult” music. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Shirley Ratcliffe
Choir & Organ, November 2016

The St Albans girls give a fearless performance throughout, …As always, the lay clerks are impeccable. © 2016 Choir & Organ



Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, October 2016

…“a combination of the joyful, tender and downright rumbustious”. These qualities suit the style of this choir well with the slight rawness in the treble tone matching the directness of the music’s spirit. Orchestra Nova provide the accompaniment and it’s neat and alert again, as the music requires, and is well balanced in the generous Abbey acoustic. There is very much the sense of the origin of the word ‘Carol’ coming from dance. This is Mathias at his most joyous—a pleasure for performer and audience alike. …Mathias’ use of percussion, strings and piano does bring passing echoes of Orff out of Walton. Overall, it suitable uplifting conclusion to a wholly enjoyable disc. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Bruce Reader
The Classical Reviewer, September 2016

The St. Albans Abbey Girls’ Choir proves to be an impressive choir who along with the Lay Clerks of St. Albans Cathedral Choir deliver some very fine performances. © 2016 The Classical Reviewer Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2016

Having been a direct contemporary with the Welsh composer, William Mathias, until his untimely death in 1992, I performed, loved and admired his very diverse output. So I might be considered as somewhat biased, but I place his vast output of sacred choral music as the most important for the Anglican church composed in the second-half of the Twentieth century. In this field—he did compose in every genre—his roots were in the tradition he inherited from Ralph Vaughan Williams, and once heard his music has that almost irritating device of being unforgettable. The present release is a compendium of his scores composed over a thirty year period beginning with All thy works shall praise thee from 1961, and ending with The Lord’s Prayer that is claimed to be a world premiere recording. The most beautiful and endearing tracks come with the four Christmas Carols, Ave Rex, which have become a Christmas concert favourite, while for use in that part of the year comes Salvator Mundi. More disciplinary and weighty substance is spelt out in An Admonition to Rulers using chapters from the ‘Wisdom of Solomon’. Throughout the performances from the St. Alban’s Cathedral are outstanding in music that is often demanding, and I wish they could now be persuaded to add more discs of Mathias. The sound quality is first rate in a atmospheric church acoustic. Most highly recommended. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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