St Peter's Singers: One Equal Music
This impressively wide collection of pieces comes from the formidable Leeds-based choir, the St Peter’s Singers, recording in Frank Matcham’s Leeds structure known as the Victoria Quarter. That venue is specially important when it contributes so positively to the atmospheric beauty of the sound. The photo in the booklet explains everything.
A key to the collection is the contribution of the long-lived Victorian composer William Harris (1883-1973). He is represented by three works, not just the opening and closing items but also by Faire is the heaven for double choir. It is from the text of this last that the title of the disc comes, taken from a poem by John Donne: ‘No noise, nor silence; but one equal music’, sung with appropriate directness. Other composers from the same generation represented are Edward Bairstow, and Hubert Parry in one of his finest motets, My soul there is a country.
The music of the Orthodox church weaves its way through not only Arvo Pärt’s Magnificat, an item from Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil, and, to an extent, the impressive motet by James MacMillan, O radiant dawn. Another theme is the contribution of successive York Minster organists, with Bairstow followed by Francis Jackson and Philip Moore, who contributes three of the most powerful items, settings of prayers by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Equally direct in a gentler way is the delightful item by Sally Beamish, In the stillness. Fine performances and good blend – an impressive showcase for Simon Lindley’s brilliant choir.