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Hyperion Records

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Martyre chrétienne by Hippolyte Delaroche (1797-1856)
Private Collection / Photo © Bonhams, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67775
Recording details: October 2007
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by Andrew Mellor
Release date: May 2009
Total duration: 3 minutes 55 seconds

'Sung with sympathy and ardour by this excellent chamber choir, with apt accompaniments by Christopher Glynn' (Gramophone)

'This is definitely a crack chamber-sized choir: the sound is perennially fresh, even youthful … intonation, ensemble, articulation are all flawless … I have much enjoyed Consortium's Brahms, especially for the sheer quality of the singing. They are particularly good at sustaining tone in pianissimo, and they are always rhythmically alive, which is vital in this repertoire' (International Record Review)

'A professional ensemble that seems to be eking out a niche for itself … Consortium makes some very beautiful sounds' (Fanfare, USA)

'Elegant, refined music-making' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'There is little doubt that this is high-class choral singing: refined, sweet-toned, impeccably tuned, with subtly nuanced dynamics … the performances are consistently of the highest quality and when Brahms is at his reflective and melancholy best, so are Consortium' (Musical

Dem dunkeln Schoss der heil'ger Erde, WoO20
composed before 1880; first printed in 1927
author of text
from Das Lied von der Glocke

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Not all Brahms’s works were published in his lifetime. Since his death, a modest amount of material that had been lost while he was still living or which he had not bothered to publish has come to light; the process still goes on. Several of these works are choral, ranging from tiny canons to the unfinished but substantial Mass from the late 1850s, the so-called Missa canonica (recorded on Hyperion CDA67559), which was not published until 1984. Midway in importance between these extremes is Dem dunkeln Schoss der heil’gen Erde, a partsong for mixed voices on words from Schiller’s Das Lied von der Glocke. This was first printed in 1927 as part of the Complete Edition of Brahms’s works brought out in Vienna under the editorship of Hans Gál and Eusebius Mandyczewski. Writing in February 1880 to his friend J W von Wasielewski, who had requested music for the unveiling of the Schumann Monument in Bonn, Brahms mentioned that this chorus existed, only to dismiss it as unfit for the occasion. 1880 is only a terminus ante quem, however—the piece probably dates from a good deal earlier, from the late 1860s or early 1870s. The verses are funereal, apt for a burial service, and Brahms’s treatment is appropriately austere, but we do not know whether the piece was occasioned by the death of any particular friend. Its chorale-like main tune and smooth, imitative polyphony lend it the character of a brief motet, rather than a Chorlied.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2009

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