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.

Vital spark of heav'nly flame

composer
A Set of Hymn and Psalm Tunes, London, c1765
author of text
The Dying Christian to his Soul

 
Vital spark of heav’nly flame, a setting of Pope’s poem ‘The Dying Christian to his Soul’ by Edward Harwood, is one of the most famous pieces of psalmody. Harwood was a weaver from Hoddlesdon near Darwen in Lancashire who supposedly ‘went to Liverpool to sing in one of the churches there, and sang until he burst a blood vessel’; he is buried at St Peter’s Church, Liverpool. ‘Vital spark’ was often performed by nineteenth-century parish choirs in four-part adaptations, though Harwood’s original uses the three-part ‘trio sonata’ writing associated with Nonconformists. Much of the vocal writing is surprisingly sophisticated and elaborate for a provincial amateur, and suggests the influence of the ‘sensibility’ style of German composers such as C P E Bach. For this reason we have allocated most of the piece to solo voices with organ continuo, interpreting a mysterious change to four-part writing at the end as the entrance of a choir.

from notes by Peter Holman © 1998

Recordings

Vital Spark of Heav'nly Flame
CDA67020Archive Service

Details

Track 2 on CDA67020 [4'10] Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDA67020 track 2

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-98-02002
Duration
4'10
Recording date
12 September 1997
Recording venue
St Mary the Virgin, Stoke-by-Nayland, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Vital Spark of Heav'nly Flame (CDA67020)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: March 1998
    Deletion date: May 2013
    Archive Service
Search

There are no matching records. Please try again.