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Track(s) taken from CDH55456

A Hymn for St Cecilia

First line:
Sing for the morning's joy, Cecilia, sing
for the Livery Club of the Worshipful Company of Musicians; first performed on 22 November 1961 in St Paul's Cathedral; SATB with organ
author of text

Wells Cathedral Choir, Malcolm Archer (conductor), Rupert Gough (organ)
Recording details: June 2004
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: June 2005
Total duration: 3 minutes 17 seconds

Cover artwork: A Lake Landscape at Sunset by John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893)
Christie's, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Trinity College Choir Cambridge, Stephen Layton (conductor), Simon Bland (organ)
Royal Holloway Choir, Rupert Gough (conductor), William Mason (organ) NEW
St Paul's Cathedral Choir, John Scott (conductor), Andrew Lucas (organ)


'The phrasing of Malcolm Archer's Wells Cathedral Choir is unobtrusively intelligent, Howells' long, powerfully expanding crescendos emerging as naturally evolving arcs in the ongoing argument. Tonal blend is excellent, and there is no superficial straining for effect whatsoever. This is genuinely devotional singing, technique placed at the disposal of the music's spiritual message. Rupert Gough's organ accompaniments are exemplary' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Rupert Gough's accompaniments are tastefully executed and help make this portrait of the range and diversity of a side to Howells all too often taken for granted a highly worthwhile release' (International Record Review)

'The sound is focused and radiant, the ensemble immaculate, and Rupert Gough provides charismatic organ accompaniment' (The Scotsman)
A Hymn for St Cecilia, commissioned by the Livery Club of the Worshipful Company of Musicians to mark Howells’s Mastership of the Company in 1959–60, sets a poem in praise of the Patron Saint of music by Ursula Vaughan Williams as a three-verse hymn. The wonderful dancing-on-tiptoe nature of this piece takes its cue from the syncopated first vocal entry and each phrase finds increasingly high notes as the verse goes on. It is a classic ‘cumulative’ tune which carries the singer along on a tide of increasing emotional energy and leaves an impression of being a piece much bigger than its constituent parts.

from notes by Paul Spicer © 2005

Commande du Livery Club of the Worshipful Company of Musicians pour marquer l’arrivée de Howells à sa tête, en 1959–60, A Hymn for St Cecilia met en musique un poème à la louange de la sainte patronne de la musique—une hymne en trois strophes d’Ursula Vaughan Williams. Le merveilleux caractère «dansant sur la pointe des pieds» de cette pièce prend appui sur la première entrée vocale syncopée, et chaque phrase rencontre des notes toujours plus aiguës à mesure que la strophe se déroule, engendrant un air «cumulatif» classique qui emporte l’interprète vocal sur une vague d’énergie émo­tionnelle croissante. Voilà une œuvre qui donne l’impression d’être plus imposante que ses composantes.

extrait des notes rédigées par Paul Spicer © 2005
Français: Hypérion

A Hymn for St Cecilia ist ein Auftragswerk des Livery Club der Worshipful Company of Musicians zu Howells’ Ernennung zum Master der Company 1959–1960. Dieses Werk vertont ein zu Ehren der Schutzgöttin der Musik verfasstes Gedicht von Ursula Vaughan Williams in Form einer dreistrophigen Hymne. Die wunderbar vorsichtige Tanzart dieses Stücks übernimmt ihr Stichwort aus dem synkopierten ersten Einsatz der Stimmen. Im Verlauf der Strophe findet jede Phrase zunehmend höhere Noten. Die Sänger werden mithilfe einer klassischen „anwachsenden“ Melodie auf einer Welle zuneh­mender emotionaler Energie fortgetragen. Das Stück gehört zu jenen, deren Ganzes einen gewaltigeren Eindruck hinterlässt als die Summe seiner einzelnen Bestandteile.

aus dem Begleittext von Paul Spicer © 2005
Deutsch: Elke Hockings

Other albums featuring this work

Hymns to Saint Cecilia
Studio Master: CDA68047NEWStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Howells: Requiem & other choral works
The English Anthem, Vol. 4
CDA66678Archive Service