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Paul Spicer's Easter Oratorio review

Choir and Organ May/June 2006

Paul Spicer's Easter Oratorio is based on the story of the Resurrection from John 20 and 21. Starting where the Bach St John Passion leaves off, it opens with Jesus's body lying in the tomb. The text is by Tom Wright, the then Dean of Lichfield. In two parts, the first is 'The New Day', about new creation.

Spicer has included 'newly composed' chorales and six congregational Easter hymns in this work. The soloists also take the part of different characters and like Bach the Evangelist narrates the story. Of his style, Spicer says that it musically 'breaks no new ground'. He comes from a long line of English composers exemplified by Vaughan Williams, Finzi, Walton and Howells. The latter two are prevalent in this work, particularly Howells, who was his composition tutor.

Spicer's writing is skilful and competent but lacking the distinctive touch that turns good into genius. The music is lyrical, flowing and adeptly orchestrated. The second part, 'The New Calling', was somewhat of an anticlimax and lacked tension. There are good performances from choir, soloists and orchestra under the able hand of the composer.

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Easter Oratorio cover

About our Easter Oratorio CD