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Andrew Wright enjoys an extensive career as a church musician, conductor, teacher, organist and composer. After gradating from Oxford University, he was appointed Assistant Master of Music at Westminster in 1979 under Stephen Cleobury, and 1982, Master of Music at Brentwood Cathedral in Essex. Whilst at Oxford he was a member of The Tallis Scholars and the Oxford University Chamber Orchestra and continued advanced piano studies at the Royal College of Music under John Barstow.
He has worked widely as both organist and conductor on broadcasts and recordings at both cathedrals, in Europe and the USA and directed innumerable choral and orchestral performances of works extending from the Monteverdi Vespers to Elgars Dream of Gerontius, working with soloists including Judith Howarth, Roderick Earle, John Lill and Emma Johnson.
Andrew Wright has been a tireless innovator for music throughout his career; he was presented with a Civic Award from Brentwood Borough Council in 1995. He has been a President of the Pueri Cantores National Federation, a member of the Bishops Conference Church Music Committee, and is a prominent figure for the Royal School of Church Music in Essex and has worked regularly in the field of education.
He was recently awarded a papal knighthood for services to Church Music in the Diocese of Brentwood. He has written much for the liturgy and for choirs, singers and organ with works published in the UK and USA. Notes on the Music When the late Cardinal George Basil Hume presided at the dedication of Brentwoods new Roman Catholic cathedral, by the architect Quinlan Terry in the spring of 1991, the late Cardinals former Assistant Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral presided over the music for the ceremony in his capacity as the new cathedrals Director of Music.
The concluding hymn was that of a previous Westminster Master of Music Sir Richard Runciman Terry, that great pioneer of the renaissance of Tudor Church music to the words of the late Cardinal John Henry Newman, Praise to the holiest in the height.
To continue the Westminster connection, Andrew Wright composed a setting incorporating Terrys hymn which set the tone of what would become a major contribution to the cathedrals corpus of music. Asked what his modus operandi is for composing as he does, Wright responded that: I aim to create a fusion of the English choral tradition with the pastoral needs of the
Roman Catholic liturgy of today, finding interesting and new forms which combine and contrast choir and assembly involvement.’
What lies then behind Wright’s music is a close echo of the Vatican’s own words on music and the liturgy. Musicam Sacrum (1967) states that: ‘Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when it is celebrated in song, with the ministers of each degree fulfilling their ministry and the people participating in it. ‘Thus Wright’s music begins to fulfill a need in the Church today for a music which responds to ‘ministry’ in a universal sense: clergy, ministers of the Church, laity all have a ministry to perform; something of a Roman Catholic’s raison d’etre.
This disc opens with a collection of works displaying a broadly responsorial style, mixing both a choral foundation and a repetitious structure. In mood, and even timbre, they vary from the setting of psalm 88 for the Mass of Chrism and the Veni Sancte Spiritus to the meditation Christ be beside me. Repetition in prayer – not exclusively to music — is a valuable aid to worship and, employed in the ‘Celtic meditation’ style appeals to the need for congregations to listen and reflect; something referred to in the documents of the Second Vatican Council: ‘The faithful fulfill their liturgical role by making that full, conscious and active participation …[which]…should above all be internal, in the sense that by it the faithful join their mind to what they pronounce or hear, and co-operate with heavenly grace.’
|1||03:42||I will sing forever of your love, O Lord Psalm 88/(89), Soloist: Vernon Kirk|
|2||02:31||Confidence in God|
|3||03:25||Christ be behind me (St. Patrick’s Breastplate), Soloist: Rebecca Lodge|
|4||03:39||Eucharistic Choral prelude on Godhead here in hiding, Organ Solo|
|5||03:20||Emmanuel – God is with is, Soloist: Yolanda Grant-Thomas|
|6||03:24||The Angel Gabriel was sent by God|
|7||01:38||God in Trinity, Soloist: Ruth Gomme|
|8||04:37||Veni Sancte Spiritus, Soloists: Nicola jenkin, Tessa Bonner, Stephen Douse|
|9||03:21||Let all mortal flesh keep silence, Tune: Picardy|
|10||06:25||Requiem: Julia Wilson-James – Soprano, Introit – Kyrie|
|11||03:47||Requiem: Julia Wilson-James – Soprano, Lacrymosa|
|12||03:17||Requiem: Julia Wilson-James – Soprano, Pie Jesu|
|13||03:40||Requiem: Julia Wilson-James – Soprano, Agnus Dei|
|14||03:45||Requiem: Julia Wilson-James – Soprano, Lux Aeterna, Soloist: Philip Tebb|
|15||04:49||Requiem: Julia Wilson-James – Soprano, In Paradisum|
|16||04:21||There is no Rose of such virtue, Soloist: Chris Bowen, Jane Sherriff|
|17||02:30||The Grail Prayer|
|18||03:03||My beloved spake, Soloist: Callum Thorpe|
|19||07:10||Fantasia on Te Deum – Organ Solo|
|20||04:33||Praise to the holiest in the height, Tune: Billing|