Hyperion Records

A Sequence for St Michael
First line:
Michael, Archangel, of the King of Kings
composer
1961; for the 450th anniversary of the foundation of St John's College, Cambridge
author of text
translator of text
from Medieval Latin Lyrics, London, Constable, 1929

Recordings
'Howells: Choral Music' (CDH55456)
Howells: Choral Music
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55456  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'The Feast of Michaelmas at Westminster Abbey' (CDA67643)
The Feast of Michaelmas at Westminster Abbey
Details
Track 1 on CDH55456 [10'59] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

A Sequence for St Michael
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
There is one inescapable element in Howells’s creative make-up which, however many times it is related, cannot be overlooked, and that is the loss of his son Michael at the age of nine in 1935. A Sequence for St Michael begins with two agonized cries of ‘Michael’. Many have been drawn to paint the Archangel Michael in music and on canvas, but for Howells, aided and abetted by the miraculous quality of Helen Waddell’s trans­lation of the medieval Latin of Alcuin, this was simply an opportunity for externalizing a feeling which in 1961 was still as raw as it had been when Michael had died twenty-six years earlier.

The Sequence is a big piece effectively in three sections, the central one being a sensuous tenor solo which mirrors the ‘censer of gold’ in its sinuous musical line which seems to waft like the incense which rises from it. The heart of the poem is the image to which Howells will have felt instinctively drawn: ‘Then was there a great silence in heaven, And a thousand thousand saying ‘Glory to the Lord King’’. It is the feeling of vastness, space, silence and mystery conjured up by that image which never fails to impress. Howells’s musical response is to begin the words of those ‘thousand thousand’ like a quiet rumour, beginning very low with the basses and tenors in counterpoint and placing the sopranos high above like hovering angels. This is arch-Impressionism of a high order.

from notes by Paul Spicer © 2005

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDA67494 track 1
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-05-49401
Duration
10'59
Recording date
24 June 2004
Recording venue
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Howells: Choral Music (CDA67494)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: June 2005
    Deletion date: April 2011
    Superseded by CDH55456
  2. Howells: Choral Music (CDH55456)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: February 2014
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Show: MP3 FLAC ALAC
   English   Français   Deutsch