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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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James MacMillan's Cecilia Virgo was commissioned by the Choir of Royal Holloway. The Latin text dates from the 1500s and MacMillan chose ‘to draw on the heritage of richly contrapuntal music from the sixteenth century’. The work is scored for double choir, allowing the composer to make full use of ‘the multiplication of voice parts, as well as the antiphonal duality of the split choir’. This arresting call to Cecilia is heightened by the use of the opposing keys of C major and D major, and it is interesting to compare this use of bitonality with Elgar’s There is sweet music, written over a hundred years earlier. Unlike Elgar’s piece, here the keys are held directly in opposition and yet the effect is both radiant and mesmerizing, and gives a sense of the all-embracing nature of God’s mercy.
Cecilia Virgo, tuas laudes universa concinit musicorum turba,
et tuis meritis supplices a Deo exaudiri possint.
Iuncta voce et uno corde tuum nomen invocant,
ut luctum mundi in paradisi gloriam mutare digneris;
tuosque pupillos, tutelaris Virgo, aspicere velis,
piam Dominam, inclamantes, et semper dicentes:
Sancta Cecilia, ora pro nobis.
Virgin Cecilia, all musicians celebrate your praises,
and through your merits, supplicants can be heard by God.
With one voice and with one heart, they call upon your name,
that you may deign to change the mourning of the world into the glory of paradise;
and be willing, O protecting Virgin, to look upon your wards,
calling upon the pious Lady, and always saying:
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.