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A Hymn to the Virgin

First line:
Of one that is so fair and bright
composer
9 July 1930
author of text
c1300

 
Britten wrote a considerable quantity of music during his school years, much of it ambitious and demonstrating a striking stylistic eclecticism. Much simpler in its understated poignancy is his well-known A Hymn to the Virgin, for double choir, composed on 9 July 1930 during an enforced spell in the sick-bay at Gresham’s School, Holt, when Britten was only sixteen years old. (This was his final year at school, and two months later he entered the Royal College of Music to study composition and piano.) In 1934 he deemed the piece worthy of publication but transposed the music down a semitone to make it more comfortable to sing and amended some of the harmonic progressions.

from notes by Mervyn Cooke © 2001

Durant ses années d’écolier, Britten écrivit une quantité considérable de musique dont une bonne part s’illustre par sa nature ambitieuse et son éclectisme stylistique saisissant. D’une plus grande simplicité dans la retenue de ses émotions, le célèbre A Hymn to the Virgin pour double chœur vit le jour le 9 juillet 1930, alors que Britten, âgé de seize ans seulement, faisait un séjour forcé à l’infirmerie de Gresham’s School, un pensionnat de Holt, une ville côtière du Norfolk. (Ce devait être sa dernière année de scolarité générale puisque deux mois plus tard, il entrait au Royal College of Music de Londres pour étudier la composition et le piano.) En 1934, il jugea la pièce digne d’être publiée, mais la transposa au demi-ton inférieur pour en faciliter l’exécution vocale et amenda quelques marches harmoniques.

extrait des notes rédigées par Mervyn Cooke © 2001
Français: Isabelle Battioni

Britten hat schon während seiner Ausbildung eine beachtliche Menge Musik geschrieben, darunter vieles, was ehrgeizig und in auffällig eklektischem Stil gehalten war. Wesentlich schlichter in seiner bescheidenen Eindringlichkeit ist seine bekannte A Hymn to the Virgin für Doppelchor, komponiert am 9. Juli 1930 während eines Zwangsaufenthalts im Krankenzimmer der Musikschule Gresham’s School in Holt. Britten war damals erst sechzehn Jahre alt. (Es war sein letztes Schuljahr; zwei Monate später begann er am Royal College of Music Komposition und Klavier zu studieren.) Im Jahr 1934 befand er das Stück der Veröffentlichung wert, transponierte es jedoch vorher einen Halbton abwärts, so daß es bequemer zu singen war, und berichtigte einige der harmonischen Fortschreitungen.

aus dem Begleittext von Mervyn Cooke © 2001
Deutsch: Anne Steeb/Bernd Müller

Recordings

A Christmas Present from Polyphony
NOEL2Super-budget price sampler — Download only
Britten: A Ceremony of Carols
CDA66220
Britten: Christ's Nativity & other choral works
CDA66825Archive Service
Britten: Sacred and Profane & other choral works
CDH55438
Journey into light – Music for Advent & Christmas
Studio Master: SIGCD269Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Mealor & Britten: … the flowers have their angels
Studio Master: SIGCD366Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

Track 13 on CDH55438 [3'20]
Track 10 on NOEL2 [3'20] Super-budget price sampler — Download only
Track 17 on CDA66220 [3'32]
Track 8 on CDA66825 [3'17] Archive Service
Track 6 on SIGCD269 [3'18] Download only
Track 14 on SIGCD366 [3'53] Download only

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