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Track(s) taken from CDA67087

A Litany '2nd version'

First line:
Drop, drop, slow tears
author of text

St Paul's Cathedral Choir, John Scott (conductor)
Recording details: July 1998
St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: January 1999
Total duration: 3 minutes 54 seconds

Cover artwork: We Praise Thee, O God (detail) by G P Hutchinson

Other recordings available for download

Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Gabrieli Consort, Paul McCreesh (conductor)


'All of the music is of the very highest quality. This disc will offer lasting pleasure and satisfaction to cathedral music enthusiasts and newcomers alike' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Rewarding indeed' (Classic FM Magazine)
Oldham-born Sir William Walton (1902–1983) was a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford between 1912 and 1918. Dr Henry Ley (1887–1962) who had succeeded Harwood as Organist there in 1909 recognized his outstanding talents and introduced him to Sir Hugh Allen, Fellow of New College and Choragus to the University. The Dean at that time, The Very Reverend Dr Thomas Banks Strong, took an interest in young Walton’s welfare and managed to persuade the boy’s father to allow him to become an undergraduate at the University at the early age of sixteen. But Walton left in 1920 having repeatedly failed Responsions—a requirement of the BA degree. He was taught piano by Basil Allchin the Assistant Organist at Christ Church. Despite being surrounded by so many talented musicians and teachers, Walton was virtually self-taught—his teachers merely claiming that they gave him some advice. He later received similar advice from Ansermet and Busoni.

Although much of Walton’s musical success was in the world of secular music-making, he did not abandon church music and wrote a number of anthems and other liturgical works: The Twelve (1965), Missa Brevis (1966), Jubilate Deo (1972) and seven other shorter works, of which one is A Litany —a setting of the beautiful text by Phineas Fletcher (1582–1650). It is quite remarkable that this piece bears the date ‘Oxford 1917’ after the final bar, which means that the composer was only fifteen when he wrote it. All the more remarkable that the piece begins with a discord and that the music paints so dramatically the words ‘Drop, drop, slow tears’—the work of an iconoclast to be sure.

from notes by William McVicker © 1999

Other albums featuring this work

A Song of Farewell
Studio Master: SIGCD281Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Walton: Coronation Te Deum & other choral works
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