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Hyperion Records

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February Fill Dyke (1881) by Benjamin Williams Leader (1831-1923)
Birmingham City Museums and Art Gallery
Track(s) taken from CDH55170
Recording details: October 1988
St Paul's School for Girls, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: September 1989
Total duration: 23 minutes 19 seconds

'The performances here are wonderfully responsive. The individual voices seem perfectly attuned to the special colouring of Holst's music' (Gramophone)

Seven Partsongs, H162 Op 44
author of text

The Seven Partsongs for female voices and string orchestra, H162 (Op 44), to words by Robert Bridges (1844–1930), possess a refreshing sense of spontaneity that readily communicates itself. Bridges, Poet Laureate, was a close friend of the composer’s and inspired a large number of vocal settings by him. There can be no doubt that Holst’s personal sense of involvement coupled with his usual technical skill combined in these settings to produce an unjustifiably neglected masterpiece.

The elusive and mystical quality of these poems appealed instinctively to Holst. He later recalled: ‘I did the first of the Bridges poems the moment I caught sight of the words, since when I’ve been wondering what they mean.’ The pivotal tonal centre of the cycle is E, enriched by the composer’s highly personal brand of modal harmony, with its hypersensitive response to the changing moods of the text.

from notes by Julian Haylock 1989

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