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Hyperion Records

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Seated Angels with Orbs in their Hands (c1348-1354) by Ridolfo di Arpo Guariento (c1310-c1370)
Museo Civico, Padua, Italy / Alinari / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67768
Recording details: June 2009
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: September 2010
Total duration: 6 minutes 56 seconds

'Dove's fresh, diatonic idiom is coupled to a matchless sense of word-setting … he writes most gratefully for the voice, with the intensity of Kenneth Leighton, the bravura of Britten and the timeless ecstasy of Tavener … the Wells choristers tackle everything with aplomb, élan and evident enjoyment' (Gramophone)

'Matthew Owens has clearly prepared the choir with scrupulous sensitivity, and conducts with an incisive freshness … Dove's music is splendidly effective and brightly expressive' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Wells is currently enjoying a superb top line, rewardingly displayed in this collection of Jonathan Dove's radiant choral works, including a first recording of his sparkling Missa Brevis' (The Observer)

'Wells must currently stand as England's finest cathedral choir, and its legacy of promoting contemporary church music will remain long after every treble voice here has become a baritone, tenor or bass … as it stands today, that top line has unfailing precision of pitch and unaffected beauty of tone, while the men possess the flexibility and collective musicianship to underlay that top line with impeccable textural clarity and satisfying tonal depth … few will not respond to the sparkling and angelic 'Wellcome, all wonders in one sight!' … while 'Run, shepherds, run!' … adds a moment of high drama, reminding us vividly of Dove's operatic credentials … this disc offers some moments of pure magic and many truly uplifting experiences' (International Record Review)

'Into thy hands, using as texts two 12th-century prayers, offers evidence that modern religious choral music need not descend into wince-inducing happy-clappy idiocy. Dove charms and beguiles us, and the performances by the Wells Cathedral Choir under Matthew Owens are faultless. There’s also the recording quality, with the cathedral acoustic offering just enough reverberance to give the voices a heavenly glow' (TheArtsDesk.com)

Ecce beatam lucem
composer
1997; commissioned by Ralph Allwood for the Eton Choral Courses
author of text
possibly by Alessandro Striggio (1540-1592)

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Ralph Allwood is well known for his influential summer choral courses at Eton College. He commissioned Dove to write an anthem for the 1997 course at Eton and Dove responded with Ecce beatam lucem, a setting of words which, in a prefatory note, Dove says were possibly written by Alessandro Striggio (1540–1592). Striggio wrote a forty-part motet setting these words which is often coupled with the more famous one by Tallis. It is an ecstatic poem in praise of light and its source from the sun, the moon and the stars which are all created by God. The music is underpinned by a series of fast-moving and constantly repeated keyboard figures on the organ as the choir moves between slower-moving lyrical phrases and quickly imitative figures thrown from voice to voice. The final section (‘O mel et dulce nectar’), in a slower, reflective mood, leads to the final beautiful bars, which Dove marks to be ‘slow and serene.’

from notes by Paul Spicer © 2010

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