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Listen Sweet Dove

Listen Sweet Dove cover picture

Guildford Cathedral Choir

Director: Andrew Millington
Organ: Geoffrey Morgan
Listen sweet dove Grayston Ives
Dum complerentur G.P. da Palestrina
Psalm 122 Chant by Barry Rose
Sing joyfully John Mundy
O praise God in his holiness Andrew Millington
If ye love me Thomas Tallis
One thing have I desired of the Lord Philip Moore
I will lift up mine eyes Humphrey Clucas
Gracious Spirit Sebastian Forbes

Locus iste Anton Bruckner
Christ the fair glory Andrew Millington
Magnificat in D minor Francis Jackson
Nunc Dimittis Francis Jackson
Sacerdotes Domini William Byrd
Hymn: Gracious Spirit Grayston Ives
Te Deum (Collegium Regale) Herbert Howells

Total playing time 64m 00s

Listen Sweet Dove

Listen Sweet Dove

On May 17th 1961 the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit Guildford was consecrated; a monumental act of faith and the first cathedral to be built in the south of England on a new site since the Reformation. The building itself, designed by Sir Edward Maufe, is "modern" in its style and plan but it takes as its inspiration the great and austere cathedrals of the gothic period. Perhaps it was fitting, therefore, that the vision for its musical life would follow the pattern of daily sung services in the monastic tradition of the older English foundations. The establishment and development of the Cathedral Choir by Barry Rose in the early days is an astonishing story in itself, and has been carefully documented in a fascinating book entitled "The Beat is Irrelevant" written by Simon Carpenter, a Guildford chorister in the 1960's.

Since those exciting, pioneering days, the music of the Cathedral has developed steadily, built on the very sure foundations initially laid down. In its breadth and variety the Choir's repertoire now compares with those which have centuries of tradition behind them. As we now celebrate the 35th anniversary of the consecration, this recording comprises a representative collection of works, many of which have a special Guildford significance.

Three of the pieces are taken from the Consecration Service itself, Psalm 122 sung to a chant by the first organist, Barry Rose, Sacerdotes Domini by Byrd, and the splendid verse anthem by John Mundy, Sing joyfully unto God our strength. It is interesting to note that at the service itself, the bass solo was delivered by all the tenors and basses of the choir, with formidable effect!

Another strand running through the choice of music is the theme of the Holy Spirit, the dedication of the Cathedral. Thus, Palestrina's Dum complerentur (Part 1) and Tallis's If ye love me are included, as well as two settings of the hymn, Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost. Grayston ("Bill") Ives is now Informator Choristarum at Magdalen College Oxford, and a former Guildford layclerk. Amongst his many compositions for the church is the hymn tune Guildford Cathedral heard on this recording, and featuring a canon at the octave between treble and tenor parts. Sebastian Forbes has several close links with the Cathedral. He sang with the Cathedral Choir in the early days and as Professor of Music at the adjacent University of Surrey has helped to provide the Cathedral with a talented succession of Choral and Organ Scholars. His involvement has increased yet further in recent years as a choir parent. His setting of Gracious Spirit was written in 1968 as a wedding anthem. Still on the Whitsun theme, Bill Ives' setting of George Herbert's Listen sweet dove has a beguiling simplicity, and was written in 1974 for a Guildford Diocesan Choirs' Festival. Both of the Ives pieces on this recording were included in an extended Whitsuntide sequence, entitled "Tongues of Fire".

Over the years, music has been commissioned for special Cathedral occasions, and the Choir's repertoire has been greatly enriched by a succession of fine pieces by Philip Moore, the second Organist at Guildford, now at York Minster. The anthem One thing have I desired was commissioned by The Friends of the Cathedral for their 25th anniversary service in 1994. The atmosphere of quiet supplication which pervades in the outer sections is contrasted by a more turbulent and energetic central passage, reaching a pivotal climax at the words "and now shall he lift up mine head above mine enemies round about me".

Andrew Millington's setting of Psalm 150 O praise God in His holiness was written for a concert given by the men of the Choir at the Henley-on-Thames Festival in 1993. The accompaniment was first given by brass quintet, though it transcribes easily for organ, as on this recording. Christ the fair glory is a more extended piece, and was first performed at Michaelmas 1994 for the Farewell Service for Michael Adie, Bishop of Guildford. It is in several sections using three separate texts: an ancient office hymn, some verses by Edmund Spencer and the Prayer Book collect for St. Michael and All Angels. The unifying musical theme is the plainsong melody set to the hymn. This is almost ever-present in one guise or another, making its final appearance in the pedals of the organ.

Humphrey Clucas was a tenor layclerk at Guildford in the 1980's and left behind him a rich legacy of compositions, including I will lift up mine eyes which was composed for the Guildford Diocesan Choirs' Festival of 1982.

In 1989 Francis Jackson was commissioned to write a setting of the evening canticles for the men of the Choir. Having previously written a Nunc Dimittis for Gonville and Caius, Cambridge (1952, revised in 1975), he coupled this with a new Magnificat for Guildford. They make a fine pairing and it is interesting to note the change of style and "vintage" from one to the other.

To complete this celebratory recording, two established classics have been included. Bruckner's exquisite motet Locus iste has a particularly appropriate text and the Howells Te Deum written for King's College, Cambridge, serves as a final paean of praise and thanksgiving for a tradition to which we are all privileged to belong.

Guildford Cathedral Choir

The choir of Guildford Cathedral was formed in l961 under Barry Rose, the Cathedral's first Organist and Choirmaster. Since the Consecration of the Cathedral, the Choir has maintained a daily Sung Evensong and has built up an enviable reputation for its singing. The boys of the choir (18), are drawn from Lanesborough Preparatory School in Guildford, and some of the older ones attend the Royal Grammar School. The lower parts are sung by professional layclerks and choral scholars from the University of Surrey.

During its relatively short history, the choir has made numerous recordings, including an album of Christmas Carols which won a 'Gold Disc' award for the sale of over five hundred thousand records, followed by a 'Platinum Disc' for over a million records sold. The choir has toured widely in Britain, Europe, and North America, most recently in the south-eastern states of the USA. The choir broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 3, and has made several TV appearances.

In 1974 Barry Rose moved to St Paul's Cathedral in London, and was succeeded by Philip Moore. He was appointed to York Minster in 1983 and the post is now occupied by the present Organist and Master of the Choristers, Andrew Millington.

The choir covers a large repertoire from plainsong to contemporary music, including a wide variety of European styles. In addition to service music, the choir occasionally performs larger works with orchestra. In recent years, these have included Handel's Messiah, Bach's St John Passion and Haydn's Nelson Mass.

Andrew Millington

Andrew Millington was born in 1952 and studied the organ at Worcester Cathedral under Harry Bramma and Christopher Robinson. From the King's School Worcester he gained an Organ Scholarship to Downing College, Cambridge and in 1975 he became Assistant Organist at Gloucester Cathedral. Here he developed a varied career as an organist, conductor and teacher. He played a prominent part in the Three Choirs Festivals of 1977 and 1980 and held the conductorships of no less than four notable choirs in the Midlands area; Birmingham Bach Society, Kidderminster Choral Society, Saint Cecilia Singers and Aldwyn Consort of Voices. Two of these choirs won major awards in the international radio competition 'Let the Peoples Sing'.

In 1983 he succeeded Philip Moore as Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral. Under his direction the Cathedral Choir has undertaken numerous recordings, tours and concerts, in addition to the daily worship in the Cathedral. He is also conductor of the Bracknell Choral Society, and an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. He has travelled extensively as an organist and choral conductor, and in 1990 he directed an RSCM Summer School in South Africa.

He is a regular recitalist on BBC Radio 3, and has played as a soloist at many prestigious venues in Britain, including recent appearances at the Royal Albert Hall, King's College, Cambridge and St. George's Chapel, Windsor. He has worked closely with several major orchestras and has made many recordings as a conductor and organist.

He is married with three children.

Geoffrey Morgan

Geoffrey Morgan studied with John Webster, Harry Gabb and Flor Peeters. On leaving Magdalen College Oxford (where he was organ scholar) he spent ten vears as assistant organist of Westminster Abbey. For most of that period he worked with Simon Preston, and in 1986 he played at the Royal Wedding.

After Westminster Abbey, he became Visiting Lecturer in Organ at Yale University USA and in September 1989 he took up his present post of Sub-Organist at Guildford Cathedral.

He has broadcast frequently and has toured as a solo organist in Denmark and three times in the USA. He has accompanied the choir of Westminster Abbey in France, Belgium and Switzerland.

Produced by Barry Rose
Recording, editing and artwork by Lance Andrews