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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67470
Recording details: January 2004
St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2004
Total duration: 12 minutes 24 seconds

Fantasie Choral No 1 in D flat major
composer
1931

Introduction
Whitlock’s two substantial Fantasie Chorals were composed in 1931, soon after his arrival at St Stephen’s – a church which John Betjeman described as ‘a lofty hall of stone-vaulting providing view after view as you walk round it, each lovelier than the last, and worthy of a vast cathedral’. The (almost) French title perhaps suggests a tribute to the three expansive Chorals of César Franck, and the leisurely developments of the Fantasie Choral No 1 certainly require big resonant spaces in which to bloom: this is concert music conceived for the church. The serene, hymn-like chorale theme in D flat major is contrasted with a more fluid and passionate second subject in F sharp minor, and then developed through a sequence of three very free variations (the last a wonderfully delicate scherzo). The second subject inspires a definitive climax, and this finally evaporates into a concluding reprise of the hushed antiphonal writing from the opening bars.

from notes by David Gammie 2004

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