COMPOSERS: Battishill,Crotch,S Wesley,Walmisley & Attwood
ALBUM TITLE: The Georgian Anthem
WORKS: Various works
PERFORMER: Choir of New College Oxford/Edward Higginbottom
CATALOGUE NO: 3510
As Philip Olleson’s informative note suggests, Anglican church music of the late 18th and early 19th centuries is valued less highly than that of earlier and later periods, and despite some intermittently interesting examples that view will not be overturned by this CD. Samuel Wesley’s three anthems show an old-fashioned style handled ably. Two by William Crotch prove respectable if unimaginative, though ‘The Lord, even the most mighty God’ has some punch. Battishill’s pair are effectively simple, Walmisley’s compositions patchy but occasionally eloquent. Even the piece by Mozart’s sole English pupil, Thomas Attwood,
is pretty unmemorable.
Given such unpromising material, Edward Higginbottom and his choir deliver accurate and often spirited performances, though there’s some dubious intonation from an occasionally over-prominent treble section. The soloists are good, especially in Crotch’s anthem named above and Walmisley’s ‘Remember, O Lord’, where the writing leans curiously towards opera. Ryan Wigglesworth touches in the organ parts nicely. The sound lacks a certain breadth, but it’s the limitations of the repertoire itself that is the main problem. George Hall