RICHARD PANTCHEFF (b.1959): Missa brevis, A Prayer of St. Columba, Laudem dicite, Nocturni I and VI, Domine exaudi, Phos Hilaron, Remember, O Lord, Magnificat and nunc dimittis, Litant to the Holy Spirit, Psalm 91, Crown with love, Lord, this day.
Catalogue Number: 11X054
Label: Orchid Classics
Reference: ORC 100175
Description: Pantcheff is highly regarded and much in demand as a composer of church music, and this attractive and engaging collection clearly demonstrates why. The style firmly belongs in the English cathedral tradition, and is resolutely tonal throughout. Most of these pieces are suitable for liturgical use, and exist in several versions; several were orchestrated for this recording, and the added richness of texture, uncomplicated and not distractingly showy, enhances the works' expressive range. The composer has held appointments at two important Anglican churches, in Germany and South Africa, and these pieces have been widely performed in the UK and Europe. The fine Missa brevis is uplifting and profound, with superbly judged gradations of light and shade in the Gloria and Agnus Dei. The fervent entreaties of the Psalm setting Domine exaudi and the hushed, dignified prayer Remember, O Lord from the composer’s Requiem inhabit a rapt world of shadows, illuminated by a reassuring glow of hope and faith. The two instrumental Nocturnus pieces are darker than the choral works, more chromatic, and sombre and uneasy in mood, in contrast with the light-suffused nature of the explicitly religious pieces. Here echoes of Shostakovich and Britten (Pantcheff's mentor) are readily apparent. Nick Pritchard (tenor), London Choral Sinfonia; Michael Waldron.