Hyperion Records

Canticle V 'The Death of Saint Narcissus', Op 89
First line:
Come under the shadow of this gray rock
author of text
Poems written in Early Youth, Faber & Faber, 1967

'Britten: The Five Canticles' (CDH55244)
Britten: The Five Canticles
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55244  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Track 5 on CDH55244 [7'48] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Canticle V 'The Death of Saint Narcissus', Op 89
Canticle V, The Death of Saint Narcissus, Op 89, was written in 1974 while Britten was recuperating from a heart operation. His wide reading at this time included poetry by T S Eliot, whom he admired ‘for the clarity and security of his language’, and he decided to set this early poem in memory of his friend William Plomer, author of the words of Gloriana and the three Church Parables, who had died the previous year. As Britten was still not well enough to play the piano himself, the accompaniment was assigned to the harp, to be played by his friend and colleague Osian Ellis, the vocal line being given to the tenor voice. Britten himself was to die the following year, and this setting is an instance of his apparent preoccupation with death in his final years, of which the most notable example was his last opera, Death in Venice.

from notes by Michael Short © 1992

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDH55244 track 5
Recording date
29 April 1991
Recording venue
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Britten: The Five Canticles (CDA66498)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: March 1992
    Deletion date: August 2005
    Superseded by CDH55244
  2. Britten: The Five Canticles (CDH55244)
    Disc 1 Track 5
    Release date: October 2006
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
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