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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67576
Recording details: January 2006
St John's College Chapel, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2006
Total duration: 4 minutes 50 seconds

'David Hill's Advent programme imaginatively mingles antiphons, carols, hymns and motets. Favourites alternate with relative rarities such as Edward Naylor's Vox dicentis: Clama, whose sumptuous sonorities unfold gloriously in the chapel's acoustic … the John's choir, fielding what sounds like a vintage crop of trebles, sings throughout with its trademark mixture of refinement and gutsy energy' (The Daily Telegraph)

'This recording holds some of the most exquisite choral singing I have ever heard. They must be one of the finest choirs in England. Not only is the technical standard dazzlingly high, but the readings are engaging, animated and sensitively shaped' (American Record Guide)

'Blend, balance, intonation and diction are all unfailingly top-drawer, and the choir's unanimity of phrasing and dynamic shading come across as something quite special … both engineering and annotation are well up to the same standard' (Fanfare, USA)

'This is a very fine disc indeed … the overall impression with which I’m left is one of great satisfaction and pleasure. The programme has been assembled with great imagination and the execution is well nigh flawless. When one adds in excellent and very atmospheric sound, first rate notes and texts and translations, it all adds up to a very distinguished package indeed. I shall be surprised if I encounter a finer CD of Christmas music this year' (MusicWeb International)

The clouded Heaven
First line:
Be with me Lord
composer
1998
author of text
"Be with me Lord" and "If Thy presence" sections
author of text
"I could not lightly pass" section, from On First Entering St John's Cambridge

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
As Judith Bingham (born 1952) is both a composer and singer it is perhaps hardly surprising that choral and vocal music have featured prominently among her compositions, (including a Mass written for Westminster Cathedral). The clouded Heaven was commissioned jointly by The Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral and by Ruth Daniel, a long-standing supporter of St John’s Choir. It received simultaneous premieres at Winchester Cathedral and St John’s College, Cambridge, sung by their choirs directed by David Hill and Christopher Robinson respectively, at their 1998 Advent Sunday services. Bingham’s choice of texts reflect both commissioners, a conflation of words from a prayer by the seventeenth-century Bishop of Winchester, Lancelot Andrewes, and William Wordsworth’s On First Entering St John’s Cambridge. The music has a quality of anxiousness reflecting Bingham’s inspiration behind the work: ‘I always think of Advent as the time when the Magi are making their unsafe journey towards the Nativity and so wanted to suggest a spiritual journey into the unknown. I was hugely influenced at that time by my experience of an Alpine starry landscape and wanted to try and capture my feelings of awe and wonderment in the music.’

from notes by Andrew Burn © 2006

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