Nunc dimittis, H127

composer
1915; composed for Richard Runciman Terry and the choir of Westminster Cathedral who gave the first performance in Easter Sunday 1915; not published until 1979 (edited by Imogen Holst)
author of text
Luke 2: 29-32

 
The unaccompanied Nunc dimittis, H127, was written in 1915 and remained in manuscript form until 1979 when a published edition appeared, revised by the composer’s daughter, Imogen Holst. For soprano and tenor soloists and unaccompanied eight-part choir, the piece was written for Richard Terry, then organist of Westminster Cathedral. It was first performed liturgically on Easter Sunday, 1915, after which it was totally forgotten. The first performance of the revised version was given by the BBC Singers under Stephen Wilkinson on 11 June 1974 in Framlington Church.

Holst was passionate about the music of Byrd and Palestrina, which is clearly shown here in the modal writing, and the way the male and female voices of the choir answer each other antiphonally as, for example, at the words ‘Lumen ad revelationem gentium’. The piece was originally composed in B flat, although for the revised version recorded here the music was transposed down a semitone to A. It makes a fitting conclusion to this recital of wonderful but little-known music whose current neglect is as baffling as it is inexcusable.

from notes by Julian Haylock © 1989

Recordings

Epiphany at St Paul's
CDH55443Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Holst: The Evening Watch & other choral works
CDH55170Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Panis angelicus
CDA66669
The Music of Westminster Cathedral
This album is not yet available for downloadWCC100Super-budget price sampler

Details

Track 16 on CDH55443 [3'36] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 17 on CDH55170 [3'23] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Track 18 on CDA66669 [3'31]
Track 12 on WCC100 [3'31] Super-budget price sampler

Track-specific metadata

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