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Tis the day of Resurrection

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The music of Charles Wood (1886-1926) has featured on all discs except Volume 2 of this series, and biographical material on him may be found in other volumes. Here, a claim is made for Wood to be the most important educationalist after Stanford and Parry. Like R O Morris, Wood’s influence on English music was widely felt through his pupils both at the Royal College of Music and at Cambridge. Time and time again one finds that Wood was a teacher of a noted composer, his pupils ranging from Vaughan Williams to Armstrong Gibbs, taking in Thomas Beecham, Sir William Harris and Sir Michael Tippett.

Wood appears not to have been an ambitious man and much of his music, including his string quartets, was published posthumously. Some of his anthems are well beyond the abilities of most parish choirs, and Tis the day of Resurrection is one such work. This is a setting of J M Neale’s translation of an ancient Greek Ode by St John Damascene. The work is in two principal sections headed heirmos and troparia which correspond to the two sections of an ode. The heirmos contains some impressive writing with canonic motifs debated between parts and between the two choirs. The second section, or troparia, is marked ‘Andante’ and opens with one choir singing the Genevan tune Au fond de ma pensée in a version by Goudimel (used also in his anthem Out of the deep). The second choir replies with elaborate imitative writing in direct contrast to the block harmonies of the hymn. This sort of writing can be found in German organ music in particular in the first half of the nineteenth century, the most well-known example being found in Mendelssohn’s first Organ Sonata (1844). The final section of Wood’s joyful Easter anthem is a recapitulation of the opening material, now set to new words. This strong ternary form gives the music a firm structure, often a characteristic of the most successful anthems.

from notes by William McVicker © 1996

Recordings

The English Anthem, Vol. 6
CDA66826Archive Service

Details

Track 13 on CDA66826 [5'39] Archive Service

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