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Hyperion Records

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Three Ladies Singing (detail) by Louis Welden Hawkins (1849-1910)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55421
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

'The national soundtrack for the past three decades … [Burgon] shows what can be done with some simple ideas and a top-flight cathedral choir' (The Independent)

'Geoffrey Burgon … has found a niche in contemporary English choral music because he wants to communicate, to write music that people want to hear … this immensely appealing music is superbly sung by the Wells Cathedral Choir who prove to have excellent soloists. The vivid direction by Matthew Owens is greatly aided by David Bednall's creative organ contribution and Hyperion's first-class recording in the cathedral. A disc well worth seeking out' (Gramophone)

'The girls and men of Wells Cathedral directed by Matthew Owens give a riveting performance enhanced by the playing of David Bednall and Alan Thomas … in the popular field Burgon presses all the right buttons without risk of compromise' (Choir & Organ)

'The music is gratefully written for voices, expertly performed, and warmly recorded' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Musically, these performances are all that could be wished for in terms of technical accomplishment' (Fanfare, USA)

'Strong performances from the Wells Cathedral girl choristers and lay clerks … I was soon persuaded that this recording is a welcome addition to the Burgon discography' (Cathedral Music)

'Hyperion’s sound is terrific (does anyone record English choirs better than they?) and the production first class' (Audiophile)

'Geoffrey Burgon's music is beautifully crafted with a wealth of invention and on this Hyperion Records CD a treat awaits for those already familiar with his works as well as those new to his music … the Short Mass is marvellously realised by the Choir of Wells Cathedral and their performances throughout are excellent' (Lifestyle Magazine)

'Hyperion's championing of British composers goes on unabated. With this first issue dedicated to Geoffrey Burgon's choral works, the catalogue has been enriched with a truly versatile contemporary voice … closer analysis reveals a wealth of invention and masterly command of the voice deeply rooted in the classical tradition … the Wells Cathedral Choir under Matthew Owens give compelling performances and the emotional and textural intensity of their singing does Burgon proud. As expected, sound and balance are of the very highest standards' (Classical.net)

Death be not proud
composer
2005
author of text

Introduction
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

Other albums featuring this work
'Hyperion monthly sampler – March 2013' (HYP201303)
Hyperion monthly sampler – March 2013
HYP201303  Download-only monthly sampler   No longer available
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