Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.

Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages.

Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.

Agnus Dei

composer
tune from Barber's String Quartet, 1936; arranged 1967 for choir
author of text
Ordinary of the Mass

 
The time bomb of Barber’s melancholy—set to darken his later years in depressive alcoholism—would not have obviously resided alongside his privileged upbringing, good looks, precocious talent and early establishment of his lifelong relationship with fellow composer Gian Carlo Menotti. But it was already sufficiently present to produce, at the age of twenty-six, a string quartet movement of the deepest sadness, an Adagio that in its string orchestral version has become the unofficial national anthem of mourning in the United States, far-outstripping any other piece in a 2004 BBC Radio 4 poll for the ‘saddest music in the world’. Not only has it been the most successful, even improving, of transfers from string quartet to string orchestra; Barber’s own choral arrangement of 1967, tracking the sinuous, stepwise string lines to the words of the Agnus Dei, works superbly too. The melodic contours fit like a glove for voices, unlike similar, more recent attempts to choral-ize the more intrinsically instrumental lines of Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ with the Lux aeterna and Requiem aeternam texts.

from notes by Meurig Bowen 2015

Recordings

Bernstein: Chichester Psalms; Copland: In the beginning; Barber: Agnus Dei
CDA66219
American Polyphony
Studio Master: CDA67929Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Copland: In the beginning; Barber: Agnus Dei
CKD117Download only
Naked Byrd Two
SIGCD235Download only

Details

Track 2 on CDA67929 [9'07]
Track 4 on CDA66219 [9'50]
Track 9 on CKD117 [7'27] Download only
Track 3 on SIGCD235 [7'36] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDA66219 track 4

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-87-21904
Duration
9'50
Recording date
20 May 1986
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
Licensing
1.Film Lorenzo's Oil, directed by George Miller, 1992
Waiting for content to load...
Waiting for content to load...