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Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages.
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The rain had fallen, the Poet arose,
He pass’d by the town and out of the street,
A light wind blew from the gates of the sun,
And waves of the shadow went over the wheat,
And he sat him down in a lonely place,
And chanted a melody loud and sweet,
That made the wild swan pause on her cloud,
And the lark drop down at his feet.
The swallow stopt as he hunted the bee,
The snake slipt under the spray,
The wild hawk stood with the down on his beak,
And stared with his foot on the prey,
And the nightingale thought, “I have sung many songs,
But never one so gay,
For he sings of what the world will be
When the years have died away.”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
A Poet’s Song, taken from Tennyson’s English Idylls and other Poems (1842), is one example of a simple, strophic lyric that rises above the banality of the ‘royalty ballad’ (a commercial instrument used so successfully by publishers to advertise their songs through the support of a famous singer). This is largely owing to the effective use of the internal, Chopinesque pedal point (evocative perhaps of the ‘fallen rain’), the touching shift to the flat mediant to capture the rapt moment of the nightingale’s song (‘that made the wild swan pause on her cloud’) and the modified second verse with its sighing coda.
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Thomas Barham (b?)
More fond than Cushat Dove, by Thomas Barham, captures the delight of lovers meeting in secret after dark. Tender and melodious, its language harks back more to Mendelssohn in its harmonic simplicity, feminine cadences and accompanimental figurations, sure evidence that Parry had not yet freed himself from the influences of his youth.
Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory –
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heap’d for the beloved’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
With Shelley’s highly popular lyric Music (from Posthumous Poems, 1824), Parry was moved to compose his most sophisticated song to date. The second line of the poem (‘Vibrates in the memory’) evidently played a major part in his interpretation since a sizeable portion of the song is preoccupied with imitation of the vocal line by the piano (at varying distances and in different registers). This intercourse between voice and piano gives rise to a much more fluid phraseology which is itself enhanced by the absence of obvious cadential points. In addition, the whole fabric of the song is motivically tauter in conception. This is not only evident in the development of the first vocal figure, but also in the use of the preludial idea in the left hand of the piano, which, besides heading each verse and closing off the song, appears subtly in augmentation in the voice just before the coda (‘shall slumber on’).