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Christopher Parkening : Simple Gifts : CD

BACH Präludium (“We Thank Thee, Lord, We Thank Thee”) from Cantata 29: 2) ROWLAND H. PRITCHARD: Our Great Savior: 3) JOHN HUGHES: God of Grace and God of Glory 4) – 6) Three Spirituals: 4) WILLIAM MOORE: Bretheren, We Have Met to Worship: 5) TRADITIONAL: Deep River: 6) A.T. OLAJIDA OLUDE: Jesus, We Want to Meet: 7): HUMPERDINCK: Evening Prayer from Hansel and Gretel: 8) GORDON YOUNG: Hymn of Christian Joy: 9) TRADITIONAL SHAKER HYMN: Simple Gifts: 10) – 12) Three Hymns: 10) TRADITIONAL: Fairest Lord Jesus: 11) A.L. BUTLER: Stir Thy Church, O God our Father 12) TRADITIONAL: All Creatures of Our God and King: 13) RONALD RAVENSCROFT. Variations on “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken” (Austrian Hymn from Haydn’s Quartet, Op. 76 No. 3): 14) W.A. MOZART: Praise Ye the Lord (Laudate Dominum from Solemn Vespers, K.339)

Christopher Parkening

EMI/Angel Records • CDC-7-47525-2

Here is a recording of hymns, traditional sacred music and spirituals with also works by Bach, Haydn, Humperdinck and Mozart recorded in 1986 and played by Christopher Parkening, It begins with a Bach work that you might recognize better if I told you that it is the Prelude from the fourth Lute Suite and a stunning start to the programme, as it is at violin speed throughout, beautifully clear, technically perfect and a wonderful opening.

The two hymns that follow are beautiful arrangements that work really well with many voices weaving in and out of the melody, and sounding superb.

The 3 Spirituals of course are wonderful melodies, as they usually are, and Deep River in particular is very moving anyway as a melody, and this superb arrangement is one I would love to see the music for but the two others are every bit as good.

The Humperdinck excerpt from his most famous opera Hansel and Gretel sounds very nice with a tune you will recognize if you didn’t know where it was from, and moreover it didn’t appear to be an arrangement, which is the best compliment I could give it, as it is one of the highlights of this disc.

Of course the title track is a great arrangement, and sounds really good this way. The playing moreover is outstanding throughout the whole disc, and although quite a few of these beautiful arrangements do sound very complex, they don’t present a problem for our performer!

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by this really beautiful CD, as I am not particularly fond of religious music, and yet this Cd was a real delight, an utter surprise, with all the arrangements effectively done, beautifully played and very clearly recorded. Even if you are not a particular lover of this sort of music, Parkening’s playing and the actual repertoire will definitely delight you!

Chris Dumigan

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