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Stanford’s substantial Mass ‘Via Victrix 1914-1918’ was intended as a work of thanksgiving for the allies’ victory in the Great War. Dedicated to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, it was the first in a chain of works by British composers commemorating the war dead – Foulds’s A World Requiem (1921), Delius’s Requiem(premiered 1922) and Bliss’s Morning Heroes (1930) would follow. All these works have received modern recordings, but it has taken until now for Stanford’s ‘Via Victrix’ Mass to reach CD. Symphonically paced and nuanced in its construction, Stanford’s Mass receives an impressive reading from Adrian Partington, his four soloists, and the wonderful voices of the BBC National Chorus of Wales with BBC NOW. Thanks to the editorial work and tireless advocacy of Stanford scholar Jeremy Dibble, this CD again makes available an important British choral work that has lain largely forgotten for over a century. The appropriate fill-up work is another premiere recording: At the Abbey Gate, composed in 1920 in response to a poem by Charles John Darling published in the Times as part of an article concerning the ceremonial internment of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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