Mime Luba (Philips LP, RI, 7592).
The Missa Luba is Congolese. It has been recorded by Les T ronbadours du Rol Baudouin, a chois formed by a Belgian Franciscan Missionary, Fr. Guido Haazen. The Troubadours, with percussion section. number some 45 boys aged ninc to 14 and teachers from the Kamilla school. In 1955 the choir made a six months European Tour performing in Belgium. Holland and Germany.
As here recorded 1 found the Missa Luba to be enthralling. The enthusiasm of a splendid soloist. the drums, the rise and fall of voices in what seemed to be moreor-less genuinely African rhythm appeared to be based on local musical form. The sleeve of the record tried to convince me that the MiSSfl Luba is "pure Congolese" and is "completely devoid of any modem western musical influmice". but my ear is not that muffled thatit can't distinguish what one might call a Belgian eenipah plus "Salvation Army" influence.
A White Father, missionary in In Africa for many years, a specialist in African music dashed my first impressions still further; the harmonising is European, he said. the drum rhythm un-African, although the soloist from time to time puts over the genuine African idiom. My verdict: a most enjoyable record even if not quite the genuine article, Missa Pam Marcell', by Palestrina; MiSSA Brevls in C Major. hs Mozart. Choir of St. Hethelg's Cathedral, Berlin. Berlin Symphony Orrhestra conducted by Karl Forster (HMI/ Mono ALP 2019).
Palestrina's well-loved Missa Pupae Marcell! was first performed 499 years ago. It was written, along with two others, at the request of Cardinal St. Charles Borromen in an attempt to meet objections to much Church music then current and which had been heavily criticised by the Council
of Trent, Palestrina, then Master of Music at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome performed the three Masses and the one here superbly recorded, unaccompanied, and as near as possible to the original text, was chosen. It was sung before Pope Pius IV in the Sistine Chapel on June 19, 1565.
Mozart's more simple Missa Brevis, composed some 200 years later. is accompanied by the violins, trumpets, basses, timpani and organ of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. Less glorious than Palestrina, more dignified, but equally flawlessly recorded.
Five Hundred Years of Organ Music, by Piet Van Egmond (HMV Mono LP CLP 1701).
Piet Van Egmond, coming to England shortly to take part in the Si. Albans Organ Festival, has been playing the organ since he was six years old. He is now 52. His new and very satisfying record was made partly at the Prise eeSS Church in Amsterdam and partly in St. Michael's Church. Zwolle, It ranges from Paumann's (1410-1473) Elend, du host unfangen mid,. in the oldest organ method, through the infinite variations of Bach, the songlike, lyrical Cantabile of Cesar Franck. to today's Albert de Clerk and Olivier Messiacie But. why no Handel'?
A record for the connoisseur of organ music. Heard from the depths of an arm chair, fire roaring, lights out, it's more uplifting than many an eloquent book.
The Parables in Song. narraled by Eamonn Andreos with the Cliff Adams Singers Mecca LP Mono LK 4572).
Eight Parables here, most pleasingly related by Eamon Andrews and each followed by a repeat in song by the Cliff Adams Singers. The first, the story of the woman and the lost coin, is followed by a very merry ditty as the money is chink-chinked and the familiar words arc sung. But the solemn choruses following most of the other parables fail to live up to expectations. One tune which really does get off the ground is set most inappropriately to the story of I.azarus. A swing melody here is out of place.
Tried out on a group of sixth form boys the record produced the near-unanimous • opinion that the music falls between two stools: it is not sufficiently modern; not good classical.
The Story of Jesus, Kingsstay Orchestiia conducted lq Charles Smart, the McCarthy Singers and the U.S.A.F. Protestant Chapel Choir. Ruislip; the W. Ruislip Methodist Children's Mir (Decca LP Mono I.K 4555).
This is the Life of Our Lord told in carol, hymn and oratorio. Christmas. Passiontide and Easter are covered in song ranging from 0 Conte U Come Emmanuel. to God so Loved the World from Stainer's Crucifixion. A good selection of material used both inside and outside the Church. Choirs hf diflering strengths have a disconcerting habit of making one leap time. after time to the player to ildjust the sound. Peak moment on this record: the tremendous enthusiasm put into the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah.
The Parables read by Sir Michael Redgrave (World Record Club Ltd. T370).
Twenty-four Parables of Our Lord told quietly and reverently in the well-enunciated English for which Sir Michael is so rightly known. Parables arc from a Church of England version of the Comment: Do the makers really think that a glamouriged picture of the narrator is quite the thing for the sleeve'? I don't.
While the rush seems to be on, and record publishers are turning their ideas to Parables, Liturgical seasons and other religious themes, might I suggest that they take a closer look at the magnificent choir at Westminster Cathedral: they are as hidden in the record world as they are in their Cathedral loneliness back there behind the high altar?