Dr Bernard Rose (1916–1996) was, until 1981, Informator choristarum
at Magdalen College in Oxford. He was appointed to that post in 1957 and had been associated with Oxford University after leaving Cambridge in 1939 having taken his music degees there. As well as being a composer, Dr Rose was also a scholar in his own right, having concentrated his research in the early 1960s on the choral music of Thomas Tomkins. Under Dr Rose’s direction, the choir of Magdalen College quickly established a reputation as one of the finest college choirs in this country. Rose made many recordings with this choir, notably of music by less well-known early English composers.
As a composer, Rose’s output has been concerned with liturgical music, and many of his compositions have become standard cathedral repertory. The Feast Song for Saint Cecilia, with words by Gregory Rose, the composer’s son, was composed for the 1975 Festival of Saint Cecilia which was held in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in London. With its refrain, set for treble soloist by the composer, the poem is reminsiscent of Auden’s ‘Hymn to Saint Cecilia’ set by Britten. Here Rose sets the words carefully, drawing out the natural rhythms and painting the text in the most captivating manner.
from notes by William McVicker © 1991