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Hyperion Records

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Good Friday (2002) by Maggi Hambling (b1945)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67796
Recording details: April 2010
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: March 2011
Total duration: 6 minutes 40 seconds

'Ešenvalds displays an impressive command and variety of musical language … soloist, choir and strings are first-rate' (Choir & Organ)

'Ešenvalds responds to the purpose of the words he sets, occupying similar choral territory to the likes of Whitacre and Shchedrin, character rather than ego dominating … Ešenvalds favours the upper voices, giving them luminous, floating melodies against backgrounds that set them in shimmering relief or throw mysterious, penumbrous cloaks around them. Polyphony typically balances beauty of timbre with precise articulation and empathy with the texts' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Within seconds I knew I was going to adore this CD and the music of Eriks Ešenvalds … this is a performance of considerable impact, not least in the second movement when the electrifying choral cries of 'Crucify' dissolve so magically into calm, plainchant-inspired music above which Carolyn Sampson floats with angelic luminosity … if the music wasn't so utterly gorgeous, I would happily devote several hundred words to praising Stephen Layton for these totally absorbing performances. Along with Polyphony, he set the benchmark long ago, and while this is as good as anything they've ever committed to disc, the real praise here has to be reserved for Eriks Ešenvalds, whose music clearly warrants a great deal more exposure' (International Record Review)

Long Road
First line:
I love you night and day
2010; originally in Latvian and composed to mark the 20th anniversary of the choir Kamer; English version made for Stephen Layton and Polyphony, to whom it is dedicated
author of text
translator of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Long Road is a setting of a love poem by Paulina Barda (widow of the eminent poet Fricis Barda), who died in 1983 at the age of ninety-three; set in the original Latvian, it was Ešenvalds’s contribution to Love madrigals, a collection of new commissions to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the remarkable youth choir Kamer…, and this English version was specially made for Stephen Layton and Polyphony, to whom it is dedicated. It has the plain sincerity of a hymn, being homophonic throughout, and its thorough-going diatonicism is straightforward yet lush. At the midway point, a gentle susurration of bell-sounds and ocarinas appears unexpectedly, there is a brief downwards shift of a third, followed by an elated return to the home key, decorated by soloistic descants, before sustained vocalise and a return of the evanescent tinkling ushers the piece to its close.

from notes by Gabriel Jackson © 2011

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