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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67206
Recording details: May 2000
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: November 2000
Total duration: 7 minutes 55 seconds

'An appealing collection of choral works from the composer of the celebrated carol, Three Kings from Persian lands afar. Polyphony are perfect advocates of this richly woven choral writing and the solo singing is very fine too' (Gramophone)

'These are superior performances, Layton’s group Polyphony offering refined tone and exceptional precision, together with a careful observation of Cornelius’s dynamics and fluent phrasing' (BBC Music Magazine)

‘Enthusiastically recommended’ (American Record Guide)

'Polyphony sing with solemn beauty. The sound is sumptuous and richly atmospheric' (The Guardian)

'This program offers an exciting trip into what for most listeners will be a world of happy discovery' (

Requiem 'Seele, vergi▀ sie nicht'
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFranšaisDeutsch
While he was in Vienna between 1859 and 1864, a friendship developed between Cornelius and the poet Friedrich Hebbel (1813-1863). For Cornelius, the close relationship with Hebbel was as important for his years in Vienna as his friendship with Wagner. Upon Hebbel’s death, Cornelius set his poem Requiem (‘Seele, vergiß sie nicht’) to music, for SSATBB choir, thereby creating one of the composer’s most personal, profound and intense musical expressions. As with other compositions, Cornelius reworked it, putting it in final form in the summer of 1872. The final version is the most extended choral work of his mature years. Hebbel’s work is a brief poem about the importance of remembering the dead, which Cornelius extended by repetitions of each line. The opening in B flat minor, with its chromatically rising line in the sopranos and striking dissonances and chordal progressions, is one of Cornelius’s most radical passages, not unlike sections from some of Liszt’s late works. The varied treatments of the ‘gesture’ (one is hard pressed to call it a theme) in the first section are largely homophonic – this contrasts with a lively and imitative second section. The opening phrase returns at the end to round off the form and to end the composition in a calm, introspective mood.

from notes by James Deaville ę 2000

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