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Hyperion Records

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Sacred and Profane Love (c1515) by Titian (c1488-1576)
Galleria Borghese, Rome / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55438
Recording details: April 2000
Temple Church, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: March 2001
Total duration: 3 minutes 20 seconds

'The programme is delightful and the choir excellent … this has to be one of the strongest winners of the choral award in recent years' (Gramophone)

'Polyphony's brand of singing, clean as a whistle, rhythmically wonderfully alive, impeccably tuned and voiced, polished yet always fervent, is justly renowned, and on this disc it serves Britten's a capella choral music extremely well' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Musically impeccable, carefully wound and tuned, superbly balanced—a magnificent display of sheer beauty of choral sound' (American Record Guide)

'After hearing their latest CD of choral works by Britten, nothing will dissuade me from the conclusion that Polyphony under Stephen Layton is the best chamber choir in the country' (The Evening Standard)

'A valued possession … highly recommended' (Cathedral Music)

'Polyphony's exceptional energy, technical prowess and expressive flexibility make the most of every word and mood throughout this hour-long programme. This engrossing anthology of words and music comes highly recommended' (The Age, Melbourne)

A Hymn to the Virgin
First line:
Of one that is so fair and bright
composer
9 July 1930
author of text
c1300

Other recordings available for download
Westminster Cathedral Choir, David Hill (conductor)
Holst Singers, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Britten wrote a considerable quantity of music during his school years, much of it ambitious and demonstrating a striking stylistic eclecticism. Much simpler in its understated poignancy is his well-known A Hymn to the Virgin, for double choir, composed on 9 July 1930 during an enforced spell in the sick-bay at Gresham’s School, Holt, when Britten was only sixteen years old. (This was his final year at school, and two months later he entered the Royal College of Music to study composition and piano.) In 1934 he deemed the piece worthy of publication but transposed the music down a semitone to make it more comfortable to sing and amended some of the harmonic progressions.

from notes by Mervyn Cooke © 2001


Other albums featuring this work
'A Christmas Present from Polyphony' (NOEL2)
A Christmas Present from Polyphony
MP3 £4.50FLAC £4.50ALAC £4.50Buy by post £4.50 NOEL2  Super-budget price sampler — Last few CD copies remaining  
'Britten: A Ceremony of Carols' (CDA66220)
Britten: A Ceremony of Carols
'Britten: Christ's Nativity & other choral works' (CDA66825)
Britten: Christ's Nativity & other choral works

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