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Recordings Of The Psalms


Phil T
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Which set would you buy?  

6 members have voted

  1. 1. Which set would you buy?

    • The complete Psalms of David ?Priory.
      2
    • Psalms from St Pauls - Hyperion.
      3
    • Another Recommendation .
      1


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I’m thinking of buying a complete set of psalms. I’ve not heard any of the Psalms from St Pauls, but am told it’s a very good set. Which set, if either, would you buy? If neither, is there another set you’d recommend? Thanks.

 

:unsure:

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I’m thinking of buying a complete set of psalms. I’ve not heard any of the Psalms from St Pauls, but am told it’s a very good set. Which set, if either, would you buy? If neither, is there another set you’d recommend? Thanks.

 

:unsure:

 

There is a set from Westminster Abbey on Virgin Classics with Martin Neary conducting and Andrew Lumsden playing that I believe still takes some beating.

 

AJJ

 

I don't think I'd want them all though - any more than a selection from any set would drive me barmy!

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The St. Paul's set is very recognisably from St. Paul's, which makes it sound rather different from the average British cathedral*, but very well-recorded and sung IMHO. The liner notes are excellent, as always with Hyperion. I haven't heard any of the Priory set, so can't compare.

 

*Big acoustic, predominant treble line, rather slower 'rate' of chanting due to aforementioned acoustic.

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I have a pre-Cleobury Kings set reissued on CD by EMI on my iPod along with a HMV classics CD, which is another old Kings set. Honestly, you can't beat them. Some may find them a little closely recorded, but that's where the detail is. They get the balance right between keeping the thing moving and still allowing the words time to speak.

 

A long train journey and its just the tonic.

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Guest Stanley Monkhouse

If you'd like to buy my complete Priory set, not much listened to, feel free to make me an offer by emailing me on stanley.monkhouse@btinternet.com

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I have samples of four sets of the psalms: a couple of the St Paul's ones, All the Priory ones, the Westminster ones and the Willcocks ones from King's.

 

They all have their own strengths. For my money the Westminster Abbey ones are brought to life simply by Andrew Lumsden's sublime use of the Abbey organ: nothing for me particularly sets the Abbey choirs recording apart from the others in terms of singing. It is very nice, don't mistake me, but the dramatic and retrospective moments definitely come from the organ. The St Paul's disc contain excellent, singing, beautiful and vibrant, but the pointing is as set in the St Paul's Psalter. John Scott explain in the preface to either the Psalter or the Discs that he has tried to get the barline as far left as possible in each verse and in doing so this has brought about some rhytmic idiosyncracies which take time to get used to, but are very effective once you're over the surprise. As has been said before, this would only work in St Paul's. The King's set I find a little dated, with very "ordinary"chants, but are well sung and discretely accompanied by David Willcocks (why does one of the discs use Trinity (pre Metzler) to record in: was the Kings organ being rebuilt?). The Priory set are variable. The singing from Durham, Norwich and Ely for example is top drawer and stands alongside the Abbey, Kings and St Paul's set with consumate ease. This set also has a lot of "home grown" chants (particularly Norwich) unique to various Cathedrals and in this respect the Priory set is for me the most interesting (all thought not all the homegrown ones are outstanding chants. The Priory set, by its very nature also demonstrates the huge range of approaches to sining Psalms.

 

All of these sets are about 15-20 years old now. It is interesting to point out that apart from Durham and Ely none of the choirs who have recorded the discs under discussion are still being directed by the same person. Is it perhaps time for someone to revisit the cathedrals and make a new survey of Psalm singing? It would be interesting to see if there are any substantial changes in approach.

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Guest Barry Williams
I’m thinking of buying a complete set of psalms. I’ve not heard any of the Psalms from St Pauls, but am told it’s a very good set. Which set, if either, would you buy? If neither, is there another set you’d recommend? Thanks.

 

:)

 

If it were available, I would chose Kings under Boris Ord. (I think he used the RSCM/Nicholson Psalter on the grounds that it had the widest margins and was therefore easiest to mark the changes he wanted to make.)

 

Barry Williams

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I think he used the RSCM/Nicholson Psalter on the grounds that it had the widest margins and was therefore easiest to mark the changes he wanted to make.

Of course, in this era of word processing it is now not too difficult to produce your own psalter, as Rochester has done.

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Of course, in this era of word processing it is now not too difficult to produce your own psalter, as Rochester has done.

Not that it's used nowadays, except sometimes by one of the four choirs.

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All of these sets are about 15-20 years old now................. Is it perhaps time for someone to revisit the cathedrals and make a new survey of Psalm singing? It would be interesting to see if there are any substantial changes in approach.

 

I can't remember where I read it, but I'm sure I've read somewhere that Priory are looking into recording a new set of the Psalms.

 

I've heard the Priory Durham and Rochester disks, both of which are very good.

 

If I buy the Priory set, I'll have even more money to spend on organ cds.

 

:)

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If I had to choose just one disc, it would be the first of the Priory set, recorded in about 1990 by Hereford Cathedral Choir, directed by Roy Massey (before he was a Dr0, and accompanied by their present Director when he was assistant. They set the benchmark for all recordings, especially if you like Roy's style, which I do.

 

Jonathan :)

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...The King's set I find a little dated, with very "ordinary"chants, but are well sung and discretely accompanied by David Willcocks (why does one of the discs use Trinity (pre Metzler) to record in: was the Kings organ being rebuilt?).

 

I stand to be corrected on the detail, but wasn't the interior of King's College Chapel being cleaned and the organ overhauled (1968)? I believe the recording of Vaughan Williams' Mass in G minor was also made in Trinity.

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The finest recording I have is THE WORLD OF PSALMS - St. John's College Choir, Cambridge, George Guest on the Decca label 452-941-2. This compilation recording of eighteen psalms is revelatory in that it illustrates how Dr. Guest's approach to the psalms changed over the years. The first five tracks are from the 1960's, the final twelve from 1978. Simply brilliant.

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There is a set from Westminster Abbey on Virgin Classics with Martin Neary conducting and Andrew Lumsden playing that I believe still takes some beating.

 

AJJ

 

I love this recording - and as Charles Wooler puts it, the organ accompaniment is great... Have been to WA just once, too little to be able to judge if the balance of organ and choir is "natural" or slightly modified by recording technique, but from this recording one can really learn that 20th-century's English organ is the best organ to accompany a choir.

This recording really strengthened my love for Anglican church music. Some of its chants are permanently available on my laptop, and at my new position I've started to adapt the music and the style to German language and am optimistically looking forward to introduce this music to my church.

Of course, the level of singing will not be matched, sadly.....

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Having invested in the complete Priory set I have to say I have not been disappointed. I suppose I may be unusual in that I listen to them regularly and never cease to be amazed at the endless variety provided over 10 CD's. For me it is a real delight to hear the very different styles of singing, accompaniment and pointing. Add to this the very different acoustics and the diverse range of chants and I have to recommend this to anyone who likes variety.

 

I also have the complete New English Hymnal set by Priory, sad isn't it? ......but that's another story!

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