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Rejoice in the Lamb, Op 30

composer
1943
author of text
Jubilate Agno

 
The music that Britten wrote in the early 1940s, following his return to Great Britain from America—and whilst he was progressing on the composition of Peter Grimes—has a remarkable energy and vitality. Still today, 60 years or so after the first performance of Rejoice in the Lamb, Op 30, it is striking how vividly and brilliantly Britten responds to the witty, idiosyncratic words of poet Christopher Smart. The text is a celebration of the creator God found in all things. It begins with a hushed prayer that leads on to an invocation of a whole series of Old Testament characters sung to some thrilling, rhythmically taxing, music. Then follows a contemplation of the poet’s cat Jeoffry and the animal’s awareness of his maker; here a solo vocal part converses playfully with an obbligato organ line just as a cat might be teased with a ball of wool. Further meditations follow—on a mouse and on flowers, both also reflections of their creator’s greatness—before the concluding sprint through an animated parade of musical instruments and a graceful Purcellian ‘Hallelujah’ that neatly brings the work to a close. It is perhaps typical of Britten that he responded to Walter Hussey’s invitation to compose a piece for an Anglican church service by writing something that was so far away from the manner of other contemporary church music. There is music here that has a deep poignancy in its most contemplative moments but it is delightfully boisterous and almost comical in the fast-moving sections.

from notes by Simon Whalley © 2013

Recordings

Mealor & Britten: … the flowers have their angels
Studio Master: SIGCD366Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Britten: A Boy was Born & other choral works
CDH55307
The majesty of thy glory
SIGCD225Download only

Details

Track 4 on SIGCD225 [18'13] Download only
Movement 1: Rejoice in God, O ye Tongues
Track 1 on CDH55307 [4'20]
Movement 1a: Rejoice in God, O ye Tongues
Track 1 on SIGCD366 [1'36] Download only
Movement 1b: Let Nimrod, the mighty hunter
Track 2 on SIGCD366 [1'33] Download only
Movement 1c: Hallelujah
Track 3 on SIGCD366 [1'07] Download only
Movement 2: For I will consider my Cat Jeoffrey
Track 2 on CDH55307 [2'34]
Track 4 on SIGCD366 [2'15] Download only
Movement 3: For the Mouse is a creature of great personal valour
Track 3 on CDH55307 [1'05]
Track 5 on SIGCD366 [0'59] Download only
Movement 4: For the flowers are great blessings
Track 4 on CDH55307 [2'17]
Track 6 on SIGCD366 [1'57] Download only
Movement 5: For I am under the same accusation with my Saviour
Track 5 on CDH55307 [2'56]
Track 7 on SIGCD366 [2'38] Download only
Movement 6: For H is a spirit and therefore he is God
Track 6 on CDH55307 [1'21]
Movement 7: For the instruments are by their rhimes
Track 7 on CDH55307 [3'00]
Movement 8: Hallelujah from the heart of God
Track 8 on CDH55307 [1'28]
Track 9 on SIGCD366 [1'18] Download only
Movements 6 & 7: For H is a spirit and therefore he is God – For the instruments are by their rhimes
Track 8 on SIGCD366 [4'10] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDA66126 track 3

For the Mouse is a creature of great personal valour
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-84-12603
Duration
1'05
Recording date
4 February 1984
Recording venue
St Alban's Church, Holborn, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Britten: A Boy was Born (CDA66126)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: April 1986
    Deletion date: September 2006
    Superseded by CDH55307
  2. Britten: A Boy was Born & other choral works (CDH55307)
    Disc 1 Track 3
    Release date: October 2007
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