Choral Evensong from Tewkesbury Abbey

Choral Evensong from Tewkesbury Abbey

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The complete service of Evensong with music by Alcock, Howells, Jackson, Statham, Tallis and Vaughan Williams.

The Abbey School Choir, Tewkesbury
Carleton Etherington organ
Benjamin Nicholas director

For thirty-two years the Abbey School Choir sang daily evensong in Tewkesbury Abbey. One of their final services was captured for posterity by Delphian. In this recording swansong, the choir offers a treasurable memento of a uniquely English Office; complete with lessons and prayers, this sumptuous tapestry of Anglican jewels also includes the first recording of Gabriel Jackson’s refulgent new setting of the Evening Canticles. Reborn as Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum, the choir was immediately signed by Delphian and has embarked on a series of much-lauded recordings.

Gabriel Jackson’s Tewkesbury Service is at the core of this outstanding performance, with Tallis providing an introit, Statham the responses, and Vaughan Williams and Howells the anthems. The psalms are sung in a wonderfully deliberate fashion (one of them to a gorgeous chant by Alcock) and with a very atmospheric accompaniment. This is a magnificent disc and I recommend it unreservedly.
Choir and Organ Magazine July 2010 *****

A fine tribute to the Abbey School: an evensong tinged with melancholy
Though this CD provides a moving liturgical representation of a traditional Anglican evensong, its valedictory nature colours the performances with an inescapably melancholy tinge, one reinforced, at least to me, by the doleful strains of Howells’s Master Tallis’s Testament as the opening voluntary and Tallis’s Sancte Deus which follows as the introit. It was with some sadness that the Abbey School at Tewkesbury (the vision of its founder, Miles Amherst) closed in 2006 after 33 years of productive artistic existence. This recording therefore stands as a fitting memorial to the institution’s admirable achievements, measured not only by the regular services but by foreign tours, concerts and commissioned works. One such commission, sung here with ardour, is Gabriel Jackson’s highly evocative Magnificant and Nunc Dimittis, a work that clearly alludes to the numinous textures and rich harmonic “sound moments” of Howells. The Gloucestershire association of Howells, who is also represented chorally by his magisterial Te Deum from his Collegium Regale, is further emphasised by the inclusion of Vaughan Williams’s Valiant-for-Truth. Sung with real passion and conviction, this is, for me, the highlight of the disc. From time to time the organ pedal is apt to boom, which is occasionally an uncomfortable distraction, but this does not detract from the splendid and generally well-balanced sound of the choir and the carefully chosen programme.
Gramophone August 2010

Tewkesbury Abbey

The Schola Cantorum sing the weekday choral services at the Abbey.

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Dean Close Preparatory School

The choristers are all educated at Dean Close Preparatory School in Cheltenham.

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TASC Association

TASC Association was founded in 2010 to help former choristers keep in touch.

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