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Track(s) taken from CDH55307

Rejoice in the Lamb, Op 30

First line:
Rejoice in God, O ye Tongues
author of text
Jubilate Agno

Corydon Singers, Westminster Cathedral Choristers, Matthew Best (conductor)
Recording details: February 1984
St Alban's Church, Holborn, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: April 1986
Total duration: 19 minutes 1 seconds

Other recordings available for download

The Rodolfus Choir, Ralph Allwood (conductor)
Temple Church Choir, James Vivian (conductor), Greg Morris (organ)
The music that Britten wrote in the early 1940s, following his return to Great Britain from America—and whilst he was progressing on the composition of Peter Grimes—has a remarkable energy and vitality. Still today, 60 years or so after the first performance of Rejoice in the Lamb, Op 30, it is striking how vividly and brilliantly Britten responds to the witty, idiosyncratic words of poet Christopher Smart. The text is a celebration of the creator God found in all things. It begins with a hushed prayer that leads on to an invocation of a whole series of Old Testament characters sung to some thrilling, rhythmically taxing, music. Then follows a contemplation of the poet’s cat Jeoffry and the animal’s awareness of his maker; here a solo vocal part converses playfully with an obbligato organ line just as a cat might be teased with a ball of wool. Further meditations follow—on a mouse and on flowers, both also reflections of their creator’s greatness—before the concluding sprint through an animated parade of musical instruments and a graceful Purcellian ‘Hallelujah’ that neatly brings the work to a close. It is perhaps typical of Britten that he responded to Walter Hussey’s invitation to compose a piece for an Anglican church service by writing something that was so far away from the manner of other contemporary church music. There is music here that has a deep poignancy in its most contemplative moments but it is delightfully boisterous and almost comical in the fast-moving sections.

from notes by Simon Whalley 2013

Other albums featuring this work

Mealor & Britten: … the flowers have their angels
Studio Master: SIGCD366Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
The Majesty of thy Glory
SIGCD225Download only
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