Come out, Lazar: The Shorter Choral Works of Paul Spicer

By Hildreth, James | The American Organist, February 2014 | Go to article overview

Come out, Lazar: The Shorter Choral Works of Paul Spicer


Hildreth, James, The American Organist


COME OUT, LAZAR: THE SHORTER CHORAL WORKS OF PAUL SPICER. The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, England; Claire Innes-Hopkins, organist; Sarah MacDonald, director. III/38 organ by Orgues Létourneau Ltée. (Opus 95) of Selwyn College Chapel. Regent Records REGCD280. Regentrecords.com. Paul Spicer enjoys a multifaceted career as a choral conductor, workshop leader, recording producer, and composer whose works form a significant niche of the modern British choral repertoire. His strongest influence came from his composition teacher, Herbert Howells. Spicer states that the linear technique espoused by Howells is of particular importance in his own compositional process. His large-scale Easter Oratorio received high praise, being called the "best of its kind to have appeared . . . since Howells's Hymnus Paradisi." This recording treats us to 18 of Spicer's shorter choral works, ranging from just over two minutes to more than seven minutes. In spite of their brevity, these works are not short on content, being richly endowed with harmony, melody, counterpoint, and rhythm deeply rooted in the modern English choral idiom, yet distinctly Spicer's own. Most of the featured works are associated with particular people and are based on a variety of texts from the Psalms to Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Tony Barnard, chancellor of the chapter of Litchfield Cathedral, with which Spicer has been closely aslinist sociated since 1990. Spicer carefully sets each text, reflecting its mood and imagery. There is high drama in the title work, "Come Out, Lazar," and in the final work of the program, "Michael, the Great Prince, Shall Arise. …

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