Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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Unlike the previous set of Hardy songs, this sequence is presented as a genuine cycle, on the 'theme' of love remaining always painfully, tantalisingly out of reach. The first song, Beckon to me to come, is an unspoken plea for a sign from the intended lover that feelings might possibly be reciprocated. In my sage moments muses on the idea of setting hope of that love aside, but builds to a extraordinarily passionate call of 'Come!'. It was what you bore with you, woman is the emotional hinge-point of the cycle—firstly a hushed, breathless expression of the lover's appeal, followed by the bitter realisation that she is unaware, unresponsive. The same idea is carried through into The tragedy of that moment, expressing the pain of being in the same room as the person who has not returned love. The mood of the song recalls some of Gerald Finzi's darker settings of Thomas Hardy. The cycle nonetheless ends with the love being transfigured, in Dear, think not that they will forget you. Excitement builds swiftly from a whisper to a shattering climactic moment on 'I will build up a temple'—a shrine to the woman who has rejected him. If love cannot be shared, then the temple will make men marvel at her charms. Ireland's setting ends in deep (literally, in keyboard terms) introspection after we hear that though men may indeed wonder, none will ever know who constructed the temple.
from notes by Andrew Green © 1999