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Track(s) taken from A66092

I sing of a maiden that is makeless

circa 1923; published 1926; SAATB unaccompanied; dedicated to John Blackwood McEwen
author of text
fifteenth century

BBC Northern Singers, Stephen Wilkinson (conductor)
This recording is not available for download
Recording details: May 1983
Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Rowlinson
Engineered by Harold J Barnes
Release date: December 1983
Total duration: 4 minutes 7 seconds

Cover artwork: Roses by Angela Watson

Other recordings available for download

Westminster Abbey Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
Tenebrae, Nigel Short (conductor)
Although Arnold Bax’s main reputation resides in his instrumental music, notably in the cycle of large-scale symphonies he wrote between 1921 and 1939, his a cappella works have a fecundity which places them at the very summit of unaccompanied English choral music of the twentieth century. His fascination with the colour and symbolism of medieval religious poetry began with his masterpiece, Mater ora filium, a set of choral variations, composed in 1921, which set a structural precedent for the two works that followed, This worldes joie (1922) and I sing of a maiden that is makeless (c1923) for both explore elaborate processes of strophic variation. The simpler I sing of a maiden that is makeless, a partsong in five parts which Bax dedicated to John Blackwood McEwen, makes abundant allusion to sixteenth-century polyphonic techniques of imitation, cambiata and English cadence, but this impression of the ‘old’ is subtly mixed with Bax’s kaleidoscopic vocabulary of chromatic harmony, apparent from the opening of the second verse. Moreover, Bax’s process of variation allows the original melody to dissolve in the more developmental third verse (‘He came all so still To his mother’s bower’), a course of action which subsequently throws into relief the glowing reprise of the theme in the final bars.

from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2017

Other albums featuring this work

A Very English Christmas
Studio Master: SIGCD902Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Finzi, Bax & Ireland: Choral Music
Studio Master: CDA68167Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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