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Track(s) taken from CDA68047

A Song for St Cecilia's Day, Op 119

First line:
From harmony, from heav'nly harmony
commissioned for the 1973 St Cecilia service; SATB divisi with organ
author of text
opening of A song for St Cecilia's Day

Royal Holloway Choir, Rupert Gough (conductor), Matthew Searles (organ)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: April 2013
Rochester Cathedral, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: November 2014
Total duration: 4 minutes 14 seconds

Cover artwork: Saint Cecilia by Sir Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898)
Photograph by Martin Cheung for Friends of Historic Second Church / www.2ndpresbyterianfriends.org


'Gough has an exceptional group of singers here. They are impressively responsive, shifting from the rich homophony of Howells’s A Hymn for St Cecilia (anchored always in the bass), to the fidgety contrapuntal writing of Britten’s ‘I have no shadow’ episode and embracing the bluesy harmonies of Richard Rodney Bennett’s Verses on St Cecilia’s Day' (Gramophone)

'The performances by the fine mixed choir of choral scholars are superb' (American Record Guide)

'I regard this as a recording of the greatest interest and significance, a ‘must’ for any serious enthusiast' (Cathedral Music)» More

'A Cecilian smorgasbord of excellent music from two centuries' (Audiophile Audition, USA)» More

'Gabriel Jackson's La Musique is attractive and beautifully imagined; this is another example of Jackson’s highly inventive ear for unaccompanied choral textures. The soprano solo line, which is a gift for a singer like Dame Felicity, contrasts with and complements the choral parts most effectively. The music is gorgeous, not least the soft, rapt conclusion … this is a most interesting and nicely varied programme of music. The singing is consistently fine. The choir’s blend is excellent and I admire very much the fresh tone that they produce. Rupert Gough, as we know from previous releases, trains his choir marvellously and this disc is another notable achievement. With Adrian Peacock and David Hinitt serving as producer and engineer respectively it’s no surprise that the recordings are excellent. Quite a few of these pieces will be unfamiliar to many collectors, which adds to the attraction of this splendid disc' (MusicWeb International)» More

'Kurz und gut: Dieses Album ist hochgradig inspirierend. Vermittelt es doch nicht nur einen absolut frappierenden Einblick in die britische Chormusik der letzten zwei Jahrhunderte. Es zeigt auch, mit wie viel Inbrunst und Hingabe selbst als eher „säkular“ bekannte Komponisten Musik schrieben, wenn es um die Ehrerbietung für die heilige Cäcilia ging. Man könnte meinen, in vielen dieser Stücke würde der Musik selbst gehuldigt. Nikolaus Harnoncourt nannte die Musik sinngemäß einmal einen „Strahl des Göttlichen, der in unser weltliches Leben scheint“, und das fasst diese CD vielleicht besser zusammen, als man es mit vielen anderen Worten beschreiben könnte. Dank des britischen High Quality-Labels Hyperion ist auch der Sound ausgezeichnet ausgefallen, sodass man eine Natürlichkeit des Klangeindrucks erhält, die man auf anderen Chormusik-CDs leider allzu oft mit der Lupe suchen muss. Großartig' (The Listener, Germany)» More
John Gardner—another composer with a distinguished career in education—was commissioned to write for the 1973 festival, perhaps following the huge popularity of his 1965 carol setting Tomorrow shall be my dancing day. Gardner sets the first section of John Dryden’s A song for St Cecilia’s Day with a long organ pedal and drifting ‘heavenly harmonies’ creating a stately atmosphere of reverence to the primordial power of music.

from notes by Rupert Gough © 2014

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