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Track(s) taken from CDH55244

Canticle IV 'The Journey of the Magi', Op 86

First line:
A cold coming we had of it
composer
1971
author of text

Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor), Michael Chance (countertenor), Alan Opie (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)
Recording details: April 1991
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: March 1992
Total duration: 12 minutes 8 seconds
 
1

Other recordings available for download

Ben Johnson (tenor), Christopher Ainslie (countertenor), Benedict Nelson (baritone), James Baillieu (piano)

Reviews

'A superlative Hyperion disc … most notable is the Hyperion team presided over by Anthony Rolfe Johnson, whose 1991 recording has become one of the jewels in the record label's crown … Rolfe Johnson's pairing with countertenor Michael Chance in Abraham and Isaac is deeply moving as they enact what is essentially a miniature drama, and the tenor's mellifluous singing is a joy throughout this disc' (The Daily Telegraph)
A gap of seventeen years intervened before the composition of the fourth Canticle, The Journey of the Magi, Op 86, in 1971, for which Britten chose the poem of the same title by T S Eliot. It is scored for countertenor, tenor and baritone as the Magi, again with piano accompaniment, and is cast in a kind of rondo form, in which the journey by camel provides the mood of the ritornello sections. Eliot’s ambiguous poem has little in the way of overt Christian references, which Britten solves by using the plainsong antiphon melody ‘Magi videntes stellam’ as the basis of the central episode.

from notes by Michael Short © 1992

Dix-sept ans s’écoulèrent avant la composition du quatrième Cantique, The Journey of the Magi en 1971, pour lequel Britten choisit le poème du même titre de T S Eliot. Écrit pour haute-contre, ténor et baryton dans le rôle des Mages, avec ici encore un accompagnement de piano, il est en forme de rondo, où le voyage à dos de chameau fournit l’atmosphère des ritournelles. Le poème ambigu d’Eliot a peu de références chrétiennes évidentes, problème que Britten résout en utilisant la mélodie de l’antienne Magi videntes stellam comme base de l’épisode central.

extrait des notes rédigées par Michael Short © 1992
Français: Elisabeth Rhodes

17 Jahre vergingen, ehe Britten 1971 das IV. Canticle komponierte, The Journey of the Magi, wofür er das gleichnamige Gedicht von T S Eliot auswählte. Es ist zur Darstellung der Heiligen Drei Könige mit Countertenor, Tenor und Bariton besetzt, hat wiederum Klavierbegleitung und ist als eine Art Rondo angelegt, wobei die Reise auf dem Kamel die Atmosphäre der Ritornellabschnitte bestimmt. Eliots doppelsinniges Gedicht enthält kaum offenkundig christliche Bezüge, doch Britten löst dieses Problem, indem er die einstimmige Antiphonmelodie «Magi videntes stellam» als Grundlage der zentralen Episode verwendet.

aus dem Begleittext von Michael Short © 1992
Deutsch: Anne Steeb/Bernd Müller

Other albums featuring this work

Britten: The Canticles
SIGCD317Download only
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