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Paul Hale

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organ consultant · organ recitalist

Choral recordings | choir of Southwell Minster

CD cover image
Messe Solennelle
The Choir of Southwell Minster
Cavaillé-Coll organs of Sées Cathedral, Normandy
Paul Hale director
Simon Hogan grande orgue
Hilary Punnett orgue de choeur
Regent Records REGCD425  website
  • Messe Solennelle, opus 16Louis Vierne (1870-1937)
          Kyrie [5:10]
          Gloria [7:29]
          Sanctus [2:16]
          Benedictus [3:40]
          Agnus Dei [5:02]
  • Prélude, Adagio et Choral, opus 4 (Hilary Punnett organ)Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)
          Prélude [5:10]
          Adagio [7:29]
          Choral varié [5:02]
  • Messe SolennelleJean Langlais (1907-1991)
          Kyrie [4:28]
          Gloria [5:02]
          Sanctus [1:46]
          Benedictus [3:06]
          Agnus Dei [5:04]
  • Te Deum, opus 11 [8:01] (Simon Hogan organ)Jeanne Demessieux (1921–1968)
  •  Total playing time  73:19
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Choral Journal (US)- May 2015
Choral Music by Vierne and Langlais
Choir of Southwell Minster
Regent Records: REGCD425

The recording contains first-rate choral singing with refined and nuanced sound. This reviewer was impressed with the color and the dynamic ranges of the choir and how they sounded at home with the acoustics of Sées Cathedral. The choral singing, focused and with rhythmic vitality, keeps the music moving forward. The choir, organs, and acoustics were perfectly matched for the task at hand. The combination of music composed for two organs and choir, coupled with the organs that would have performed them, makes this disc a must-have.

**** BBC Music Magazine- June 2014
Choral Music by Vieme and Langlais
Choir of Southwell Minster
Regent Records: REGCD425

Paul Hale’s direction is biting and incisive, and the result is a gripping, dramatic performance.

Organists’ Review- May 2014 - critic Richard Lyne
Choir of Southwell Minster
Choral Music by Vieme and Langlais
Regent Records: REGCD425

What a brilliant way to celebrate the twinning of Southwell with Sées (Basse Normandie). Twinning gives communities the opportunity to experience the life and customs of a different country and here we are able to benefit from Southwell’s obvious enjoyment of performing Messe Solennelle settings by Vierne and Langlais in Sées Cathedral vith the accompaniment of two magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organs. We are ‘gripped by the ears’ from the opening sounds of the Grand Orgue and our attention is held to the very end. The choir sings with great energy, sensitivity and conviction. Throughout, the ensemble between choir and the two organs is excellent, and yet we are still aware of the expanse of the building. Only very occasionally does the Grand Orgue overshadow the choir, but this only heightens our sensation of being there. It is interesting to note that Vierne gave the inaugural recital on the restored organ in Sées Cathedral in 1910, some ten years or so after he composed his Messe Solennelle.

The masses are separated by fine performances by Hilary Punnett and Simon Hogan who explore the full tonal palette available on the 1883 Cavaillé-Coll. Many congratulations to Paul Hale and Gary Cole for an exciting recording; buy it!

BBC Radio 3 CD Review- March 15th 2014
Choral Music by Vieme and Langlais
Choir of Southwell Minster
Regent Records: REGCD425

It’s a magnificent sound just as Vierne intended it ….the Southwell choir’s boys are pretty impressive and the scale of the recording is just right.

Yorkshire Post- 28 February 2014
Choral Music by Vieme and Langlais
Choir of Southwell Minster
Regent Records: REGCD425

Why would Southwell Minster choir travel to Normandy to record the double organ masses of Vierne and Langlais? The answer becomes plain in the first bar: Sées Cathedral has two fine Cavaillé-Coll organs enhanced by a rich acoustic. Add to that crisp, vibrant singing from the choir under Paul Hale and commanding organ playing by Simon Hogan and Hilary Punnett and the result is extraordinary.

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It is a thing most wonderful
Paul Hale director; Simon Bell organ
Cantoris Records  website
  • Hear my prayer [10:56]Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
  • The wilderness [12:13]S.S.Wesley (1810-1876)
  • Hosanna to the Son of David [1:45]Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623)
  • Ave verum corpus [2.24]Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
  • Ubi caritas et amor [2:18]Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)
  • Miserere mei, Deus (psalm 51) [11:07]Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652)
  • Drop, drop, slow tears [2:17]Kenneth Leighton (1927-1988)
  • It is a thing most wonderful [3:17]John Ireland (1879-1962)
  • Like as the hart [5:40]Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
  • Dum transisset sabbatum [3:14]John Taverner (c.1490-1545)
  • Ye choirs of new Jerusalem [4:56]Charles V Stanford (1852-1924)
  • This have I done for my true love [5:08]Gustav Holst (1874-1934)
  • Choral-improvisation ‘Victimae paschali’ [8:59]Charles Tournemire (1870-1939)
  •  Total playing time  75:46
CD cover image
The Play of Daniel - a medieval drama
The Dufay Collective - William Lyons director
Choristers of Southwell Minster
Harmonia Mundi HMU 907479
  • 1-2       Prelude: Ad honorem tui Christi / Astra Tenenti 
  • 3-16     PART ONE - Belshazzar's Court: Interpretation of the writing on the wall 
  • 17-30   PART TWO - The Court of Darius: Daniel saved from the lions’ den 
  • 31-34   The Prophecy: Deum Danielis / Te deum laudamus 
  •  Total playing time  68:23