Philip Wilby: An English Passion according to Saint Matthew
Mhairi Lawson (soprano)
Helen Charlston (mezzo-soprano)
Thomas Elwin (tenor)
Seán Boylan (baritone)
Ben McAteer (baritone)
Jack Wilson (organ)
David Leigh (chamber organ)
Belfast Cathedral Choir
Matthew Owens (conductor)
Composer Phillip Wilby has built his reputation on writing for brass band and music for the Christian liturgy, for which he composes extensively. The three works presented on this album were all composed between 2014 and 2019, the earliest of which is the Knaresborough Service, commissioned by the Parish Church of St John the Baptist in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. The anthem God’s Grandeur was written in 2017 and is a setting of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem of the same name.
Wilby’s An English Passion According to Saint Matthew was written in 2018, for Matthew Owens and the choir of Wells Cathedral. One important characteristic of the work is the congregational hymns are taken from the collection of English tunes, published by Vaughan Williams in his English Hymnal of 1906. These hymns, with their timeless melodies, anchor the Passion in a very English setting.