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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‘When, more than three decades later, I heard that his house near Salisbury was on sale, I felt I had to visit it. I had no intention of buying it; I simply wanted to see the place where such poems as “Love” and “Virtue” had been written. I saw the house, felt its atmosphere, and—though I could not really afford to—made a bid for it. It struck me that had the house belonged to Donne or Milton or some other more overtly forceful personality, I would not have been able to live there. But Herbert, for all his depth and richness, is a clear writer and a tactful spirit. He might influence me but would not wish to wrest me from myself.
‘I bought the house in 2003. The garden runs down to the river Nadder, and the wood and water-meadows beyond form part of the grounds. At the beginning I felt his presence hourly, both within the house and outside. As time passed, I began to think of it as being somewhat more my own, but still, indefinably, shared.
‘Early in 2007, while I was in Delhi but thinking of Salisbury, I wrote the six poems of Shared Ground. Though the mood and spirit of these verses are my own, they are formally modelled on poems by Herbert: “Lost” on “Paradise”; “Oak” on “Easter-Wings”; “And” on “Hope”; “Host” on “Love III”; “Flash” on “Virtue” and “This” on “Prayer I”—some of the loveliest of his poems, and among my favourites.
‘The texts were set to music by Alec Roth while he was staying at the house during my absence in Delhi. The spirit of the place found its way into the music too, and in addition to setting the words for double choir, the composer wrote a set of dance-like pieces for solo violin, each inspired by one of the five bridges in the grounds. The two works, Shared Ground and Ponticelli (“little bridges”), are designed so that they can be performed separately or together. In the combined form, the six pieces of Shared Ground are linked by the five bridges of Ponticelli.’
Shared Ground and Ponticelli were commissioned jointly by the Salisbury, Chelsea and Lichfield Festivals with funds provided by Arts Council England and the PRS Foundation. The first performances were given by Ex Cathedra conducted by Jeffrey Skidmore, and Philippe Honoré (violin) at Wilton Church, 6 June; Holy Trinity Church, Chelsea, 21 June; and Lichfield Cathedral, 10 July, 2007.
from notes by Vikram Seth © 2011