Philip Wilby: An English Passion according to Saint Matthew - RES10298

Philip Wilby: An English Passion according to Saint Matthew

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Total playing time [67:44]

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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.

Album Booklet (PDF)


1. God’s Grandeur

The Knaresborough Service
2. Magnificat
3. Nunc dimittis

An English Passion according to
Saint Matthew
4. Collect
Part One
5. Processional Hymn
6. The Upper Room – Hymn 2
7. Denial
8. Gethsemane and the Arrest
9. Before Caiaphas
10. Peter’s Denial
11. Before the Governor
12. Hymn 3
13. Barabbas
Part Two
14. Golgotha
15. Hymn 4
16. Apotheosis
17. Procession of Christ and His Cross
18. Recessional Hymn

'[...] it could well be the finest all-adult standing choir of its kind anywhere, with near-perfect vowel harmony, blend, enunciation, nuanced awareness of phrase and an exceptional, bright and pure soprano group.'

- Gramophone

'This is a truly important release, all premiere recordings [...] by a master craftsman.'

'Here is a very interesting disc featuring fine recordings of recent repertoire from Philip Wilby. In his new Passion (written for the cathedral) the composer effectively sets English hymn tunes found in the English Hymnal of 1906 in the manner that Bach and others used the Lutheran chorale melodies, well known in their time and place.'
Lark Reviews

© 2022 Resonus Limited
Ⓟ 2022 Resonus Limited
Catalogue No. RES10298
Producer, engineer & editor: Adam Binks
EAN: 5060262793268
Cover image: The Lighthouse, Valentia Island. Photography by Stephen Power
Release date: 4 February 2022