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Godspeed cover picture

St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir

Director: James Thomas
Organ: Michael Bawtree
I was glad C H H Parry
Ave verum W A Mozart
Magnificat in G C V Stanford
Gloria W A Mozart
Jesu, joy of man's desiring J S Bach
Kyrie William Byrd
Hail true body Stanley Vann
Pilgrim's Song Philip Wilby
I saw the Lord John Stainer
Ave verum Edward Elgar
Blessed be the God and Father S S Wesley
O Lord, make thy servant Elizabeth William Byrd
Psalm 23 Chant by Wilfrid Mothersole
If ye love me Philip Wilby
Agnus Dei David Horne
Pie Jesu Malcolm Archer
Jerusalem C H H Parry

Total playing time 70m 43s



This CD was recorded in response to many requests from visitors for something 'local' by which to remember St Edmundsbury Cathedral. It therefore contains not only many universally popular pieces of choral music, but also two items peculiar to the Cathedral Choir. Both were commissioned by the R A Vestey Memorial Trust: the St Edmundsbury Mass by David Horne and the Pilgrim's Song (from 'A Liturgy for St James') by Philip Wilby.

Bartholomew Gosnold, one of the earliest explorers of the Eastern United States, sailed from Suffolk in the boat 'Godspeed' in 1606. Sadly, his daughter Martha died before an earlier voyage: she was baptised and buried in what was then St James's Church, now the Cathedral. Martha's Vineyard was named by Gosnold in her memory.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir

St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir is a voluntary organisation working to the highest standards to provide music for the worship in St Edmundsbury Cathedral. The boys attend many different local primary, preparatory and middle schools, although about half attend St James's Middle School in the town. The Lay Clerks come from many different walks of life, and all are volunteers. The full choir sings four services a week, the boys sing an extra one each week on their own and rehearse most mornings before school.

On top of this considerable commitment, the Cathedral Choir also provides music for special civic and diocesan events, termly visits to parishes in the diocese, and occasional concerts. They have appeared frequently on Radios 3 and 4, and broadcast (both live and recorded) on television. The choir goes on tour every two years. In 1998 they toured Picardy, including Bury St Edmunds's twin town of Compigne; in 2000 they visited Boston, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, Massachusetts.

James Thomas

Born in 1963, James read music as Organ Scholar at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, receiving tuition on the organ from Nicolas Kynaston. During this time he gained the FRCO, winning the Dixon prize for extemporisation.

After graduating, he spent a year at Homerton College, then, armed with a PGCE, lived in France for two years, assisting Robert Weddle with choral singing at the Conservatoire in Caen and learning the organ in Rouen with Louis Thiry. James returned to England in 1988 as Assistant Organist at Blackburn Cathedral, and Assistant Director of Music at St Wilfrid's C. of E. High School. He then moved to Chichester in 1991 as Assistant Organist at the Cathedral and Director of Music at the Prebendal School. Here he met the daughter of one of his music staff: Katharine and he were married in the Cathedral in 1993. (Katharine is herself an accomplished musician, having been Organ Scholar at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.) They have two daughters.

James was appointed Director of Music at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in September 1997. In 1998 he was appointed conductor of the Cambridge Village Colleges Choral Society, and regularly gives organ recitals and conducts choral workshops in the diocese and beyond.

Michael Bawtree

Michael Bawtree was born in Devon in 1975. He spent the year before university as Assistant Organist at King's School in Auckland, New Zealand; in 1994 he became Organ Scholar at Christ's College, Cambridge University, and graduated with a degree in music in June 1997. In January of that year, Michael became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, winning three prizes as a result of the examinations. Whilst in Cambridge he travelled extensively, performing with the Chapel Choir in Switzerland, France, Ireland, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Canada. With the group, he made three CD recordings and broadcast live on Radio New Zealand and Radio Television Hong Kong.

He became Assistant Director of Music at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Suffolk in April 1999. In addition to his Cathedral work, Michael has conducted the Suffolk Sinfonia orchestra and has recently been appointed Musical Director of the Phoenix Singers; Michael teaches Keyboard Harmony to music undergraduates at Cambridge University and is also the Cathedral's Arts Co-ordinator, responsible for all concerts and exhibitions in the building.

Solo recital engagements have taken Michael to cathedrals across the British Isles (including St Paul's in London, St Giles' in Edinburgh, Christ Church in Dublin as well as Westminster Abbey and York Minster). In October 2001, he travelled to New England, performing at churches on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, at Harvard University and at Trinity Church in the City of Boston.

Recorded in St Edmundsbury Cathedral on 2nd, 3rd and 4th July 2001 by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter.

Produced by Katharine Thomas
Recorded and edited by Lance Andrews

Cover image: "Godspeed V" by Jonathan Clarke
Photograph by Michael Bawtree
The sculptor Jonathan Clarke, who is based in Bury St Edmunds, created the image on the cover, Godspeed V, from cast aluminium. The Cathedral acquired it in 2001, with the assistance of a grant from the Jerusalem Trust.