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.
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The Sprig of Thyme offers a selection of traditional songs of the British Isles, drawing together long-standing favourites as the Willow song and The Miller of Dee with lesser known gems as O can ye sew cushions and The Sprig of Thyme. Many new settings for choir and small instrumental group have been created by John Rutter especially for this album. Rutter’s suite of eleven traditional songs, The Sprig of Thyme (all of which can be heard on this album) is published by Oxford University Press.
It is easy to poke fun at the worthiness, gentility and cultural nationalism of this vanished age, soon to give place to the more frantic, colourful and cosmopolitan ’60s. Yet the songs it promoted formed a more solid bedrock for a shared musical culture than today’s television jingles, pop songs and football chants. Among the numerous ‘As I went out one morning’s that fill folk song collections, you can find love songs of exquisite and fragile beauty such as O waly, waly and The sprig of thyme, drinking songs of picaresque humour such as The miller of Dee, lullabies of heart-easing tenderness such as O can ye sew cushions. These songs brought me delight and pleasure then, and they still do now, though pleasure has become tinged with nostalgia because, for the most part, they are forgotten and gone from our lives, perhaps forever. This album is an affectionate tribute to their composers and poets; a few were renowned, most were obscure or unknown, but the songs they created were famous, and I remember them fondly.
John Rutter ï¿½ 2005