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Thy Word is a Lantern

Thy Word is a Lantern cover picture

Blackburn Cathedral Choir, The Renaissance Singers of Blackburn Cathedral and Zeneka Brass

Director: Richard Tanner
Organ: Timothy Cooke
I was glad David Hurd
Come, my way David Cooper
Behold now, praise the Lord William Harris
I will sing with the Spirit David Goodenough
Love Divine David Goodenough
Oculi omnium Charles Wood
Psalm 129 Chant by David Cooper
Psalm Prelude: De profundis Organ Herbert Howells
We wait for Thy loving kindness, O God William McKie
Teach me, O Lord William Byrd organ Ian Pattinson
O sing joyfully Adrian Batten
Lord, Thou hast been our refuge Edward Bairstow
In manus tuas John Shepherd
O Lord our Governor Barry Rose
Super flumina G P da Palestrina
Taste and see David Hurd
Whither shall I go then Gordon Stewart
Thy Word is a lantern John Bertalot

Total playing time 67m 52s

Thy Word is a Lantern

Thy Word is a Lantern

From whichever direction you approach Blackburn Cathedral, the eye is drawn to its unique architectural feature - Laurence King's elegant lantern tower surmounted by its graceful 'needle spire' and cross. An innovative and striking addition to the Georgian nave and the transepts (which had been added in the 1950's), the lantern tower was built in 1967. Just thirty years later serious problems with the original building fabric of the tower necessitated Provost David Frayne to embark upon a major restoration project, and this was completed in 1999, culminating in a great Service of re-Dedication, attended by HRH The Princess Royal, on June 30th.

This recording celebrates that restoration and it seems fitting that it should take its title from Psalm 119 and John Bertalot's festive setting of those words, specially written for that occasion and it takes its place in a programme, with texts based mainly on the Psalms and set by a wide range of composers, spanning a range of five centuries. At least nine of these pieces have been recorded here for the first time.

Now returned from the USA to live in nearby Mellor, Dr.Bertalot had been organist of the Cathedral from 1964 to 1982 and much of the present choral tradition here owes its origin to his tenure. It is also appropriate that the music of two of his successors (David Cooper and Gordon Stewart) and a previous sub-organist (David Goodenough) should be included in a programme which ranges from quiet unaccompanied singing to the glorious sounds of choirs, organ, brass and percussion in the Cathedral's reverberant acoustics.

On this recording, under the direction of the Cathedral's present Organist and Director of Music, Richard Tanner, with the assistant organist Timothy Cooke, you can hear the Cathedral Choir of boys and men as well as the mixed-voice choir, the Renaissance Singers.

Blackburn Cathedral has no choir-school, or links with any selected local schools, and both the boys and the men of the choir sing here on a voluntary basis. For thirty years there has also been a Young People's Choir which sings Matins each Sunday during term-time. The Cathedral's musical outreach has recently been enhanced by the formation of a girls' choir, which has already taken its place in the services, singing Evensong on two weekdays during term-time.

Barry Rose, October, 1999

Richard Tanner

The Director Of Music, Richard Tanner, took up his post at the beginning of June 1998. A former chorister of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, he went on to study the organ with Robert Gower at Radley College and with David Sanger at the Royal Academy of Music and Oxford University, where, as organ scholar of Exeter College, he was responsible for organising and directing the choir of men and boys. After Oxford he spent a year as organ scholar of St. Albans Cathedral where he worked with Dr Barry Rose.

In September 1993 he moved to All Saints' Northampton as Director of Music where he developed the musical tradition - the training of the boys and men, the founding of a girlsÕ choir, planning tours and organising concerts. Immediately before taking up his post at Blackburn, Richard took the choir on a second tour of the USA, where they sang in Charleston, South Carolina.

Lammas Records have released a compact disc recording of the choirs of All Saints' under Richard's direction called A Celebration of British Cathedral Music, and he can be heard playing the organ in a 1997 Lammas recording of music on the Gallery organ of All Saints' Northampton. He has also produced several recordings for Lammas and Griffin.

Richard holds the Fellowship Diploma of the Royal College of Organists and enjoys giving organ recitals, mostly in the UK, but has also performed in Italy (1995), India (1997) and the USA (1998).

Timothy Cooke

The Assisant Director Of Music, Timothy Cooke, took up his duties at the Cathedral at the beginning of September 1998. Born in Preston, Lancashire in 1973, Tim studied the organ with Ian Hare and gained an organ scholarship to Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he continued his organ studies with David Sanger. He then moved north to the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where he received further tuition from Gordon Stewart and Margaret Philips.

He has helped to establish the 'Organworks' project, an organ and composition workshop for school children which runs throughout the year at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall.

As well as his duties as accompanist to the Cathedral Choir, Tim is responsible for the training and direction of the Young People's Choir . He is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists, and a past prize winner of the Plymouth Young Organists' Competition.

Ian Pattinson

The Organ Scholar, Ian Pattinson, came to Blackburn Cathedral in September 1998 after completing his organ studies at the Birmingham Conservatoire, and having been organ scholar at Birmingham Cathedral. On this recording he accompanies the choir in Byrd's 'Teach me O Lord'.