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.

Click cover art to view larger version
Track(s) taken from CDA67768

The Star-Song

First line:
Tell us, thou clear and heavenly tongue
author of text

Wells Cathedral Choir, Matthew Owens (conductor), Jonathan Vaughn (organ)
Recording details: June 2009
Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: September 2010
Total duration: 3 minutes 24 seconds

Cover artwork: Seated Angels with Orbs in their Hands (c1348-1354) by Ridolfo di Arpo Guariento (c1310-c1370)
Museo Civico, Padua, Italy / Alinari / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Dove's fresh, diatonic idiom is coupled to a matchless sense of word-setting … he writes most gratefully for the voice, with the intensity of Kenneth Leighton, the bravura of Britten and the timeless ecstasy of Tavener … the Wells choristers tackle everything with aplomb, élan and evident enjoyment' (Gramophone)

'Matthew Owens has clearly prepared the choir with scrupulous sensitivity, and conducts with an incisive freshness … Dove's music is splendidly effective and brightly expressive' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Wells is currently enjoying a superb top line, rewardingly displayed in this collection of Jonathan Dove's radiant choral works, including a first recording of his sparkling Missa Brevis' (The Observer)

'Wells must currently stand as England's finest cathedral choir, and its legacy of promoting contemporary church music will remain long after every treble voice here has become a baritone, tenor or bass … as it stands today, that top line has unfailing precision of pitch and unaffected beauty of tone, while the men possess the flexibility and collective musicianship to underlay that top line with impeccable textural clarity and satisfying tonal depth … few will not respond to the sparkling and angelic 'Wellcome, all wonders in one sight!' … while 'Run, shepherds, run!' … adds a moment of high drama, reminding us vividly of Dove's operatic credentials … this disc offers some moments of pure magic and many truly uplifting experiences' (International Record Review)

'Into thy hands, using as texts two 12th-century prayers, offers evidence that modern religious choral music need not descend into wince-inducing happy-clappy idiocy. Dove charms and beguiles us, and the performances by the Wells Cathedral Choir under Matthew Owens are faultless. There’s also the recording quality, with the cathedral acoustic offering just enough reverberance to give the voices a heavenly glow' (TheArtsDesk.com)
The Star-Song is a piece for Christmas which, like Wellcome, all wonders, uses different characters to create a little drama. In this case it is a dialogue between the star in the east and a chorus (perhaps representing the shepherds). The poem is by Robert Herrick (1591–1674) and he colourfully has the chorus asking where Christ is to be found. The assumption is that he will be laid in lily-banks or in ‘some ark of flowers’ or ‘in the morning’s blushing cheek’ and so on. The star replies emphatically ‘No’, and tells them that he is simply at his mother’s breast. The chorus then replies ecstatically that ‘He’s seen, He’s seen!’ and that they will give him ‘wassailing’ and ‘choose Him King, and make His mother Queen’. It is a wonderfully upbeat poem and Dove’s response to it is simple and effective. The organ part creates a ‘bright and twinkling’ star effect which continues throughout as another moto perpetuo. The tenors and basses are the chorus and the upper voices represent the star. When the moment of recognition comes the whole choir sings together. The use of a constant 7/8 metre keeps the excitement buzzing, and the ending simply flies into the air.

from notes by Paul Spicer © 2010

Comme Wellcome, all wonders, The Star-Song est une pièce de Noël recourant à plusieurs personnages pour forger un petit drame. Ici, il s’agit d’un dialogue entre l’étoile d’orient et un chœur (possible incarnation des bergers), un poème de Robert Herrick (1591–1674) dans lequel le chœur demande avec truculence où trouver le Christ. Il sera, suppose-t-on, dans des massifs de lis, dans «une arche de fleurs» ou encore «dans la joue rougissante du matin», etc. L’étoile oppose un «non» vigoureux et dit qu’il est simplement au sein de sa mère. Extatiques, les membres du chœur s’exclament alors «On le voit, on le voit!» et disent qu’ils vont lui offrir un «chant de Noël», «le choisir pour Roi et faire sa mère Reine»—un poème merveilleusement optimiste auquel Dove apporte une réponse simple et efficace. La partie d’orgue crée un effet rayonnant «brillant et scintillant», qui marque toute l’œuvre comme un nouveau moto perpetuo. Les ténors et les basses sont le chœur, les voix supérieures symbolisent l’étoile, mais tous chantent ensemble quand survient l’heure de la reconnaissance. L’usage d’un constant mètre à 7/8 maintient l’excitation bourdonnante et la conclusion s’évanouit simplement dans les airs.

extrait des notes rédigées par Paul Spicer © 2010
Français: Hypérion

The Star-Song ist ein Werk für Weihnachten, das ebenso wie Wellcome, all wonders ein kleines Drama mit verteilten Rollen ist, in diesem Fall ein Dialog zwischen dem Stern im Osten und dem Chor, der möglicherweise die Hirten versinnbildlicht. Das Gedicht stammt von Robert Herrick (1591–1674), der den Chor mit blumiger Sprache fragen lässt, wo Christus zu finden sei. Es wird vermutet, er liege auf Lilienhängen oder „in einer Blumenarche“, „in des Morgens errötender Wange“ und so weiter. Der Stern antwortet mit einem resoluten „Nein“ und erklärt ihnen, er liege lediglich an seiner Mutter Brust. Der Chor antwortet in Aufregung: „Er ist geseh’n, Er ist geseh’n!“, und sie bieten ihm Trinksprüche, wählen ihm zum König und seine Mutter zur Königin. Dies ist ein wunderbar optimistisches Gedicht, und Doves Bearbeitung ist einfach und wirkungsvoll. Die Orgel erzeugt einen funkelnd-hellen Sterneneffekt, der das gesamte Stück als weiteres moto perpetuo durchzieht. Die Tenöre und Bässe sind der Chor, die Oberstimmen verkörpern den Stern, und im Augenblick des Erkennens singt der ganze Chor zusammen. Der durchgehende Siebenachteltakt hält die Erregung wach, und das Ende erhebt sich buchstäblich hoch in die Luft.

aus dem Begleittext von Paul Spicer © 2010
Deutsch: Henning Weber

Waiting for content to load...
Waiting for content to load...