Hyperion Records

Canticle I 'My beloved is mine and I am his', Op 40
First line:
Ev'n like two little bank divided brooks
1947; for the memorial service for Dick Sheppard
author of text
A Divine Rapture, quoting from The Song of Songs

'Britten: The Five Canticles' (CDH55244)
Britten: The Five Canticles
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55244  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Britten: Song Cycles' (CKD404)
Britten: Song Cycles
CKD404  Download only   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Britten: The Canticles' (SIGCD317)
Britten: The Canticles
SIGCD317  Download only  
'Britten: Michelangelo Sonnets & Winter Words' (CDH55067)
Britten: Michelangelo Sonnets & Winter Words
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55067  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Track 8 on CDH55067 [7'28] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 1 on CDH55244 [7'58] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 22 on CKD404 [7'30] Download only
Track 1 on SIGCD317 [8'04] Download only

Canticle I 'My beloved is mine and I am his', Op 40
Britten’s five Canticles were composed across a period of some twenty-five years and each is concerned, to a varying extent, with religious themes. Their extended, multi-sectional form derives from the dramatic songs and Divine Hymns of Purcell, many realizations of which Britten had made before writing his first Canticle, 'My beloved is mine', in September 1947. It is a setting of a text by Francis Quarles, characteristic of much mystical poetry since The Song of Songs in its quasi-erotic imagery, which is beautifully caught in Britten’s cantata-like setting – a sequence of barcarolle, recitative, scherzo and lento coda. Writing in 1952, Peter Pears was of the opinion that Canticle I was ‘Britten’s finest piece of vocal music to date’ and it still compares well with almost anything he wrote later. Much of its quality derives from the expressive and sometimes highly melismatic freedom of vocal writing.

from notes by John Evans © 1986

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