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Track(s) taken from CDH55170

Seven Partsongs, H162 Op 44

composer
author of text

Holst Singers, Holst Orchestra, Hilary Davan Wetton (conductor)
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

Cover artwork: February Fill Dyke (1881) by Benjamin Williams Leader (1831-1923)
Birmingham City Museums and Art Gallery
 
1
Say who is this?  [2'54]
2
O Love, I complain  [1'22]
3
Angel spirits of sleep  [1'42]
4
When first we met  [2'06]
5
Sorrow and joy  [1'27]
6
Love on my heart  [2'37]
7
Assemble, all ye maidens  [11'11]

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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