Sir Richard Rodney Bennett was respected as one of Britain’s most versatile musicians with a varied compositional output including numerous film scores alongside half a century’s work as a writer and performer of jazz. Responding to a commission to write for the 2006 St Cecilia service held in St Paul’s Cathedral, Bennett chose to avoid traditional texts in favour of one from a family member. The poetry of M R Peacocke (Bennett’s sister Meg) has been likened to the language of Elizabeth Bishop for its ‘bristly perceptive clarity for minutiae’ (David Morley in The Guardian
). Bennett sets these Verses on St Cecilia’s Day
across six choral parts, unusually dividing the two middle voices, lending a distinctive harmonic richness to the middle register of his choral palette.
from notes by Rupert Gough © 2014