Mstation Classical Reviews

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Tue, 05 Jul 2005

Williams, Bingham: Mass

Vaughan Williams, Mass in G Minor
Judith Bingham, Mass
Westminster Cathedral Choir
Robert Quinney
Martin Baker
LP, Hyperion

Ah no, you're probably thinking of the Abbey. Westminster Cathedral is a fifteen or so minute stroll down towards Victoria station from the Abbey. The Abbey was once Roman Catholic but is now, of course, Anglican. Westminster Cathedral is the main Catholic church in London and it is there that Cardinal Cormack O'Connor officiates. The Early Byzantine-styled cathedral is quite recent as far as these things go, having been completed in 1903.

The Masses on these CD's are also recent. Vaughan Williams dates from the 1920's and Judith Bingham's from even more recently. And it gets more interesting. Williams was at best a "cheerful agnostic" and certainly not in any way devout while it seems Judith Bingham more conventionally fits into the job.

I don't suppose these attitudes are very telling in the music. Both have rich polyphony. Both have a modern bombast about their construction and statements. Both are very well crafted. Whether you actually like them or not will depend on a number of attitudes you might have. I suspect that people who are more interested in vocal music than in the music of the Church will find these pieces more appealing. (Count K)

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