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Track(s) taken from CDA67539

Hymne à la Vierge, Op 24

First line:
Ô toute belle Vierge Marie
author of text

Holst Singers, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Recording details: May 2005
Temple Church, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: March 2006
Total duration: 3 minutes 56 seconds

Other recordings available for download

Westminster Cathedral Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor)
The Cambridge Singers, John Rutter (conductor)
King's College Choir Cambridge, Stephen Cleobury (conductor)


'Whether chant-inspired, leaning towards a jazz idiom or chromaticism, the music is an unusual hybrid. The Holst Singers are eloquent and beguiling under the thoughtful direction of Stephen Layton' (Choir & Organ)

'The Holst Singers create great clouds of texture, which surge, form, and melt before your ears … for a bag of musical bonbons à la violette, this disc can't be beaten' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The Holst Singers—Stephen Layton's 'other' great choir—is every bit as skilled, sonorous and sensitive as his better-known group, Polyphony. Very few conductors manage this sort of exquisite phrasing, subtle nuance, gleaming sound, and absolute control that you hear from any of Layton's choirs. Hyperion records them beautifully and offers its usual complete and classy booklet' (American Record Guide)

'This is simply gorgeous music which has not so much moments of sublime beauty as virtually no passages which aren't, both singly and cumulatively, utterly enchanting' (International Record Review)

'Shades of Messiaen, Duruflé, Gregorian chant and jazz tinge Villette's elegant, unpretentious motets, sensitively performed here' (Classic FM Magazine)

'The Holst Singers’ blend, diction, intonation, and ensemble are uniformly up there with the best, as is the engineering of the recording' (Fanfare, USA)

'If I was going to choose a record company to commit Villette's music to disc, then Hyperion would be my first choice and the team invovled in this production do not let composer or musicians down, capturing the mood so well … it is a cracking CD' (Cathedral Music)

'This recording offers the most comprehensive compilation of Villette's choral music in print. Layton's interpretation skillfully supports the composer's intent, especially in terms of text-music relationships. The Holst Singers' diversity of tone color, pristine intonation, exploration of dynamic range, and nuances of rhythmic flexibility are consistently excellent … Layton's balance of every tone in the twenty-part texture achieves an outstanding sonority, a highlight of the recording … I recommend this recording enthusiastically and without reservation' (Choral Guide)
Pierre Villette was prolific in many fields of composition—vocal, orchestral and instrumental. Brought up in the choir school tradition, he was a chorister at Rouen Cathedral and, in adulthood, was director of the Darius Milhaud Conservatoire at Aix-en-Provence. His extensive output of church music consists mainly of motets, but a larger-scale Messe en français was given its premiere at a Three Choirs Festival at Worcester in 1981. The Hymne à la Vierge is Villette’s best-known work—an a cappella setting of words by Roland Bouhéret, melodious, homophonic and chromatic, with some delicious harmonies in the four-bar coda.

from notes by Wadham Sutton © 1993

Pierre Villette est un compositeur prolifique, que ce soit dans le domaine vocal, orchestral ou instrumental. Formé dans la tradition de la maîtrise, il fut choriste à la cathédrale de Rouen avant d’occuper le poste de directeur du conservatoire Darius Milhaud d’Aix-en-Provence. Il est l’auteur d’une œuvre abondante de musique d’église, constituée principalement de motets, mais en 1981 fut donnée la première de sa Messe en français, une pièce de plus grande envergure, au festival Three Choirs de Worcester. L’Hymne à la Vierge est l’œuvre la plus connue de Villette—une pièce a cappella mélodique, homophonique et chromatique, sur un texte de Roland Bouhéret, avec quelques harmonies des plus délicieuses dans les quatres mesures de la coda.

extrait des notes rédigées par Wadham Sutton © 1993
Français: Jean-Paul Metzger

Pierre Villette war in vielen Gebieten der Komposition, sei es vokal, orchestral oder instrumental äußerst aktiv. In der Chortradition erzogen, war er Chorknabe in der Kathedrale von Rouen und später als Erwachsener Direktor des Darius-Milhaud-Konservatoriums in Aix-en-Provence. Sein reichhaltiges Werk an Kirchenmusik besteht hauptsächlich aus Motetten, doch eine Messe en français in einem größeren Rahmen wurde anläßlich des Three Choirs Festival 1981 in Worcester uraufgeführt. Die Hymne à la Vierge ist Villettes bekannteste Arbeit—eine A-Kapella-Version der Worte von Roland Bouhéret, melodiös, homophonisch und chromatisch, mit einigen deliziösen Harmonien im viertaktigen Koda.

aus dem Begleittext von Wadham Sutton © 1993
Deutsch: Heidi Kerschl

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