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Track(s) taken from CDA67593

Te Deum and Benedictus, Op 34

author of text
Te Deum: Book of Common Prayer; Benedictus: Luke 1: 68-79

Westminster Abbey Choir, James O'Donnell (conductor), Robert Quinney (organ)
Recording details: July 2006
Westminster Abbey, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Summerly
Engineered by Simon Eadon & David Hinitt
Release date: February 2007
Total duration: 19 minutes 25 seconds


'The Abbey Choir … give an excellent account of themselves, the trebles especially singing with the confidence of professional musicianship and with voices in fine, generous bloom. In some of the short, quieter pieces, such as They are at rest and Ecce sacerdos magnus, they achieve a standard as near perfection as any. And Robert Quinney is a tremendous asset: an organist who puts his technical skill to imaginative use, sometimes … to vivid effect. Recorded sound is both clear and spacious, and the authoritative booklet contains some evocative period photographs' (Gramophone)

'The Westminster Abbey Choir delivers its organ-accompanied programme with beautiful tonal colour and blend' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The most impressive items are Great is the Lord and Give unto the Lord, two powerfully expressive large-scale anthems composed just before the First World War. Their texts allow Elgar to explore a wide range of choral and organ effects in the service of some vividly graphic word-painting, which Westminster Abbey Choir bring to life with obvious relish' (The Daily Telegraph)

'James O'Donnell never lets a detail pass or an effect count for nothing; likewise the Westminster Abbey Choir. Rarities, such as the Queen Alexandra Memorial Ode of 1932, receive equal care and attention … above all, this disc projects Elgarian grandeur and dignity' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Every work on the disc receives a convincing performance. James O'Donnell has chosen the tempi carefully, allowing the music enough space to breathe in the Abbey's generous acoustic whilst managing to avoid any sense of dragging. The choir sings well throughout and almost without fail produces a well-blended sound. Robert Quinney's accompaniments are colourful and exciting … highly recommended' (Cathedral Music)

'The Choir of Westminster Abbey, directed by James O'Donnell, does great service in a programme ranging from his naive early pieces for his local Catholic Church, to Coronation music and an Ode, written for the unveiling of Queen Alexandra's memorial in 1932, one of his last pieces. Beautiful singing and sound quality from Hyperion' (Liverpool Daily Post)

'These choral works can be judged as small masterpieces' (Classics Today)
The Te Deum and Benedictus was written for chorus and orchestra for Elgar’s friend G R Sinclair (GRS of the Enigma Variations), organist of Hereford Cathedral, to mark the Hereford Three Choirs Festival in 1897. It was first heard there on 12 September 1897. Here Elgar takes two morning service canticles and treats them as a whole. This was the year of the Imperial March and The Banner of Saint George and Elgar was clearly aiming at a big, popular, setting, revelling in writing for large forces in a big space; the grand festival occasion was already meat and drink to him. The opening motif recurs throughout and in the Benedictus reappears at the words ‘And thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest’. Elgar has the Te Deum end serenely, gradually fading away on a long organ (or orchestral) postlude. In the Benedictus Elgar opens with the choir only lightly accompanied, if at all. Later however he signals the Gloria (‘Glory be to the Father …’) with a crash on the cymbals and now returns to the world of the Te Deum with a grand and celebratory treatment of the words.

from notes by Lewis Foreman © 2007

Le Te Deum and Benedictus fut écrit pour chœur et orchestre à l’occasion du Hereford Three Choirs Festival de 1897, où il fut créé le 12 septembre, et à l’intention de G. R. Sinclair (le GRS des Enigma Variations), un ami d’Elgar, organiste de la cathédrale d’Hereford. Ici, Elgar traite comme un tout deux cantiques du service matinal. En cette année qui vit aussi naître l’Imperial March et The Banner of Saint George, Elgar envisageait manifestement une grande pièce populaire, où il se délecterait d’écrire pour d’imposantes forces chorales, dans un vaste espace; déjà, l’événement que constituait le festival était une aubaine pour lui. Le motif d’ouverture, sans cesse récurrent, réapparaît dans le Benedictus aux mots «And thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest». Le Te Deum s’achève sereinement, en mourant peu à peu sur un long postlude organistique (ou orchestral). Elgar ouvre le Benedictus sur le chœur peu, voire pas, accompagné. Mais, par la suite, il marque le Gloria («Glory be to the Father …») par un fracas sur les cymbales avant de renouer avec l’univers du Te Deum grâce à un traitement grandiose et festif des mots.

extrait des notes rédigées par Lewis Foreman © 2007
Français: Hyperion Records Ltd

Das Te Deum und Benedictus für Chor und Orchester wurde für Elgars Freund G. R. Sinclair (GRS in den Enigma-Variationen), Organist an der Kathedrale von Hereford anlässlich des Hereford Three Choirs Festivals 1897 geschrieben. Es war am 12. September 1897 dort zum ersten Mal zu hören. Elgar nimmt hier zwei Cantica (Lobgesänge) aus dem Frühgottesdienst und bearbeitet sie als eine Einheit. Es war das Jahr des Imperial March („Reichsmarsch“) und The Banner of St. George; Elgar bemühte sich eindeutig, ein populäres Großwerk zu schreiben, und genießt offensichtlich, für umfangreiche Kräfte in einem großen Raum zu schreiben: der Anlass des großen Festspieles war sozusagen schon sein tägliches Brot. Das Anfangsmotiv erscheint durchweg und kehrt im Benedictus bei den Worten „Und du Kind, wirst Prophet des Höchsten heißen“ wieder. Elgar lässt das Te Deum ruhig enden, indem er es langsam in einem langen Orgel- (oder Orchester-)Nachspiel abebben lässt. Im Benedictus beginnt Elgar mit dem nur leicht oder gar nicht begleiteten Chor, kündigt später jedoch das Gloria („Ehre sei dem Vater …“) mit einem Beckenschlag an und kehrt von da an mit grandios-feierlicher Behandlung des Textes zur Welt des Te Deums zurück.

aus dem Begleittext von Lewis Foreman © 2007
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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