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Hyperion Records

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The purified soul is like a bright, beautiful chamber by Elizabeth Wang (b1942)
Private Collection / © Radiant Light / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67799
Recording details: January 2009
St Alban's Church, Holborn, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2009
Total duration: 10 minutes 42 seconds

'Sound moments of raptural texture (such as the word 'Christ' in Hail, Queen of Heaven, by the far the most substantial piece on this programme) … Dubra's natural home is a mood of controlled meditation and lyrical clarity … this style is well handled by the Choir of Royal Holloway, whose clean-edged sound, under Gough's sympathetic direction, warms to the generous acoustic of St Alban's, Holborn' (Gramophone)

'Royal Holloway's fabulous choristers and their inspired conductor convey the purity and spiritual fervour of Dubra's ear-catching output' (Classic FM Magazine)

Hail, Queen of Heaven
November 2007; mixed voices SSAATTBB, unaccompanied; commissioned by the Louth Contemporary Music Society for the 2008 visit of the State Choir Latvija to Ireland
author of text
after the Marian Hymn Ave maris stella

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In February 2008, the State Choir Latvija travelled to Ireland to participate in the festival Baltic Voices in Ireland organized by the Louth Contemporary Music Society. For the choir’s performance the festival commissioned Dubra to write his first piece in English, the extended hymn to the Mother of God Hail, Queen of Heaven. The piece begins with a simple two-part chant for alto voices. The other voice parts enter weaving a wordless chorus around the chant with the sopranos creating a mystical halo to greet the ‘Queen of Heaven’. There follows more use of free rubato which extends the vocal canvas whilst the sopranos and basses sing a chant in parallel tenths. At the end of each verse, the last two lines form a kind of refrain and Dubra returns each time to the same resonant chords. For the passage ‘O gentle, chaste and spotless Maid’ the texture changes completely. Here Dubra wishes to capture the essence of medieval dance to reflect a naive, more theologically uneducated view of life. ‘Remind thy Son that He has paid / The price of our iniquity’ constitutes the most impassioned part of this hymn before returning again to the refrain. To conclude, Dubra returns to the opening two-part ‘Hail, Queen of Heaven’ motif and builds an ever-more colourful and complex soundscape until the final blazing chord of E major.

from notes by Rupert Gough © 2009

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