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Track(s) taken from CDA67909

Corpus Christi Carol

composer
2011; commissioned by Friends of Cathedral Music for The Choir for the Queen celebrating the diamond jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2012
author of text

Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens (conductor), Jonathan Vaughn (organ)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
CD-Quality:
Studio Master:
CD-Quality:
Studio Master:
Recording details: June 2012
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: August 2013
Total duration: 4 minutes 8 seconds

Cover artwork: Cornfield by Moonlight (1830) by Samuel Palmer (1805-1881)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
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Reviews

'This excellent disc from Wells Cathedral Choir looks back over 15 years of Bingham's choral works … there's a frankness to the Wells choral sound that suits music that has nothing precious or twee about it. It creates an underlying muscularity, even in the glowing cluster-chords of Cantate Domino and foregrounds the texts that Bingham sets with Britten-like care … this collection is the most representative yet of the composer's functional, liturgical works' (Gramophone)

'The setting of Cantate Domino memorably commingles an anxious, questing quality with glimpses of certitude and placidity, a balance sensitively struck in this assured Wells Cathedral Choir performance … Our faith is a light is a luminescent setting highlighting the bright, gleaming quality of tone the Wells top line is currently producing. The Hyperion recording is atmospheric and expertly balanced. Recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Choral music is a sphere that welcomes the new. The Anglican (mainly) church is a leading source of new commissions for countless composers, among them Judith Bingham (b1952), who stands out not least because she spent her early career as a professional singer and knows the idiom. She favours rich, multilayered radiance, as heard in the two Wells service canticles—written for the excellent choir who perform here. Jonathan Vaughn provides spirited organ accompaniment and interludes. The lullaby setting of God be in my head, the abundant interpretation of Gerard Manley Hopkins's Harvest and the unexpectedness of the Bromley Missa brevis, written for an enlightened south London parish church, all play to Bingham's creative strengths' (The Observer)
Repetition’s rhetorical power and affecting melodic emblems find common cause in Bingham’s sublime Corpus Christi Carol, commissioned for inclusion in The Choirbook for the Queen, a collection of contemporary anthems published in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The text, arguably the most famous and among the finest of all late medieval lyrics, has been read as everything from a political allegory ‘on the displacement of Catherine of Aragon from the affections of Henry VIII by Anne Boleyn, whose heraldic badge … was a white falcon’ to a song informed by the story of King Arthur and the perpetually wounded Fisher King, protector of the Holy Grail.

‘I’d always wanted to set the text’, recalls Bingham, who interprets the carol as a late fifteenth-century lament for the heavy loss of life unleashed by the Wars of the Roses. ‘A knight, always bleeding, lies in a chapel, a young woman weeping at his side. The chapel is decked out in funereal colours and at the side of the knight are written the words Corpus Christi [the body of Christ], as if the crucifixion is being played out over and over again. The music is a series of canons which overlap—and the atmosphere of the music is like a sunny and fresh English landscape that gradually clouds over. More than anything I wanted to create an intensely atmospheric sound.’ Wisps of Bingham’s dark ‘clouds’ emerge early in the piece, suggested by the sighing melody of ‘the falcon’ and the soprano part’s slow descending setting of ‘Lulley, lulla’.

from notes by Andrew Stewart 2013

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