To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.
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.
Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.
When comes my Gwen, More glorious then The sun in heaven appeareth; And summer’s self To meet this elf A smile more radiant weareth.
When comes my love, The moon above Shines bright and ever brighter; And all the black And sullen wrack Grows in a moment lighter.
When comes my queen, The treetops green Bow down to earth to greet her; And tempests high That rend the sky Disperse, ashamed to meet her.
When comes my sweet Her love to greet, My cares and sorrows vanish; For on her face Rests heavenly grace, Which troubles all doth banish.
When comes my dear, The darkness drear ’Twixt God and me is riven; Her loving eyes Reveal the skies And point the way to heaven.
Close on the heels of Set V came Set VI, published in 1903. Taken from Edmund Jones’s translation of Mynydogg from Welsh Lyrics of the Nineteenth Century (1896), When comes my Gwen was completed on 24 December 1901 and dedicated appropriately to Gwendolen and Harry Plunket Greene as a ‘Christmas box’. At first the song would seem to belong to the drawing-room (albeit a highly sophisticated one), but in the final verse Parry lifts it onto a different, elevated plane, by shifting from E flat to the dominant of D. The recovery back to E flat, by way of a series of masterly progressions (‘Her loving eyes Reveal the skies’), also demonstrates Parry’s ability to handle chromaticism with ease.
There is a lady sweet and kind, Was never face so pleased my mind; I did but see her passing by, And yet I love her till I die.
Her gesture, motion and her smile, Her wit, her voice, my heart beguile; Beguile my heart, I know not why, And yet I love her till I die.
Cupid is winged and doth range, Her country so my love doth change, But change she earth or change she sky, Yet will I love her till I die.
Parry’s setting of And yet I love her till I die (anonymous from Thomas Ford’s Musicke of Sundrie Kindes of 1607), a text highly popular with later English song composers, must be one of the first important interpretations of the poem. AAB in design, the simple diatonic progressions are most affecting, especially in the delicious closing words ‘till I die,’ a gesture that lingers in the memory.
Under the greenwood tree, Who loves to lie with me, And tune his merry note Unto the sweet bird’s throat, Come hither, come hither, come hither; Here shall he see No enemy, But winter and rough weather.
Who doth ambition shun, And loves to live i’ the sun, Seeking the food he eats, And pleas’d with what he gets, Come hither, come hither, come hither: Here shall he see No enemy, But winter and rough weather.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Under the greenwood tree, sung by Amiens in Act II Scene 5 of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, was also an extremely popular text for many British composers; one thinks particularly of Gurney’s wonderful setting and others by Quilter, Coates, Howells and Walton. Parry’s interpretation is a skilful stylistic amalgam of archaisms, notably in the two-part canonic writing and a hint of pseudo-Tudor polyphony in the refrain (‘Here shall he see No enemy’). But once again it is the imperative of organicism and developing variation that drives the song. By way of illustration, Parry takes the feminine cadence at the end of the canon and uses it as the more dissonant basis of the second verse (‘Who doth ambition shun’). In addition, the first part of the refrain, which lays emphasis on winter as the enemy of life in the forest (‘but winter and rough weather’), is given keener accentuation in its repeat owing to Parry’s harmonic divergencies.