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Track(s) taken from CDH55421

Death be not proud

composer
2005
author of text

Catherine Hart (soprano), Léonie Maxwell (soprano), Wells Cathedral Choir, Alan Thomas (trumpet), David Bednall (organ), Matthew Owens (conductor)
Recording details: February 2006
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2006
Total duration: 3 minutes 57 seconds

Cover artwork: Three Ladies Singing (detail) by Louis Welden Hawkins (1849-1910)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
1
Death be not proud  [3'57]

Donne’s Death be not proud demands and receives a humble musical setting. Burgon’s anthem dwells on the transitory nature of sound itself, emerging from a single organ note to build a ‘pealing’ texture of sustained chords crowned by bell-like descending scales in the top treble part. The Nunc dimittis trio of organ, solo trumpet and treble is revived for the work’s brief central section, modified with the addition of a second solo treble to articulate the words ‘And better than thy stroke’. Death’s own mortality turns on a striking and sudden modulation, like an act of banishment, from a tonality implicitly rooted in F major to the remote region of E flat minor.

from notes by Andrew Stewart 2006

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