Track Notes

  • 1-2: Vox Dicentis (Richard Latham, director; George Lacey and Adam Mathias, organists)
  • 3-5: Veni, Veni Emmanuel (Timothy Prosser, director; Jonathan Mills, organ)
  • 6-8: Prosper Thou our Handywork (Edward Jones, director; Richard Latham, organ)
  • 9-12: Lead Kindly Light (Richard Latham, director; Thomas Wiggall, organ)
  • 13-14: Generation to Generation (Benjamin Chewter, director; Joseph Fort, organ)

Vox Dicentis: Choral Music by E W Naylor

Performed by the Choir of Emmanuel College Cambridge, directed by Richard Latham, published by Regent Records (2014).

Edward Woodall Naylor (1867–1934) was Organist of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, from 1898 until his death. Apart from his well-known anthem ‘Vox dicentis: Clama’ and a few canticle settings, very little of his music is known or in the repertoire of choirs today. This is the first recording entirely devoted to his choral works, and contains seven first recordings.

"Edward Naylor was part of that generation of English composers which seemed to die out in a single year: 1934 also saw the passing of Delius, Elgar and Hoist. Naylor isn't quite of that company, in stature or style. He became a Cambridge man and is reclaimed here by his own college's choir, who are making many of these pieces available for the first time. Only the anthem 'Vox dicentis: Clama' is at all well known. Naylor placed great emphasis on authenticity in performance and was a published expert on Shakespeare and music, so there's a fitting precision and clear-spoken immediacy to these church themes. If his aim was communication above all, the Emmanuel Choir gets the music across with timeless accuracy. 'I will cause the shower to come down' is English setting at its lucid best."

BRIAN MORTON, Choir and Organ Magazine

"To my shame I had put this CD down as worthy but dull before I bothered to listen to it - after all, hearing something before you review it does tend to prejudice your opinion. This is indeed worthy - in its positive sense - but certainly not dull. Edward Woodall Naylor was born into a musical family in 1867, went up to Emmanuel College, Cambridge aged just 17 where he studied classics and theology before adding music in his fourth year. He became a prolific composer and his opera 'The Angelus' beat Holst's 'Sita' to win a competition for a new English opera. In 1898 he returned to Emmanuel as organist and remained there until his death in 1934 and, let us be honest, who now remembers him? The Revd Canon Raymond Hockley (1929-2012), Chaplain of Emmanuel College (1968-1976) started to write Naylor's biography but died before finishing it but an extended essay from it has been included in the CD booklet.

Richard Latham and the Choir of Emmanuel College give Naylor's music their all and the Senior and Junior Organ Scholars George Lacey and Adam Matthias play well when called upon. The music is of its time. Naylor was not an Elgar or a Holst but he was a competent and tuneful composer and listeners who appreciate traditional Victorian and Edwardian Anglican choral music will be pleased to make Naylor's better acquaintance. Clearly this has been a labour of love from those at his alma mater but this deserves a much wider audience."

Steven Whitehead

"A valuable anthology of choral music by E.W. Naylor, in the 80th year after his death. He was Organist and College lecturer in Music at Emmanuel, and so it is fitting that Richard Latham and the College choir (430 years after its founding) should produce this disc. The eponymous setting of Vox dicentis Clama. for eight-part choir, unaccompanied, is perhaps amongst the best known of Naylor’s works nowadays - and it is consequently good to have several works in this collection which receive their premiere recordings. Vox dicentis sets the tone for the ensuing tracks, receiving a committed, spacious, and dramatic performance which makes good use of the acoustic in the College chapel.

Naylor was much admired in his time both as scholar and as organist, and his compositions are generally acknowledged to have contributed to the artistic milieu which allowed contemporaries such as Elgar, Holst, Vaughan Williams, and Delius to shine. I was initially slightly daunted by the prospect of listening to 75 minutes of Naylor works - but the music and the performances of familiar and unfamiliar works have grown on me. I am glad to have had the chance to review this splendid and persuasive CD, which Mr Latham and his performers, together with Regent Records and Gary Cole, have produced.

I warmly recommend this disc to lovers of English music. Stylish and idiomatic performances from the two organists provide a splendid contribution and complement the choir very satisfactorily. Notes on the music are provided with the CD by John Lees, and the booklet also includes an article on Naylor by the late Revd Canon Raymond Hockley, sometime College Chaplain, and later Precentor of York Minster."

David Dewar, Organists' Review

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