Taking advantage of the latest advances in audio technology, this re-release of the first recorded survey of choral music the composer Richard Rodney Bennett is presented in a new stereo mix for the first time, in a spirit of tribute to his long and distinguished career.
The album spans a period of over thirty years from the Five Carols written in 1967 through to A Farewell to Arms written in 2001. The disc also includes his virtuosic Sea Change, a luminous and visionary setting of various dreamlike texts; A Good Night, composed in 1999 for the ‘Garland for Linda’ project in memory of Linda McCartney and the Missa Brevis, his only piece of liturgical music, composed in 1990 for Canterbury Cathedral Choir.
Bennett’s choral pieces are all possessed of a gift for heart-melting, memorable and quintessentially English melody—and an instinctive lyric responsiveness to English poetry. Poetry always mattered intensely to Bennett and in his choral writing we find him setting some of the very greatest—Shakespeare, Donne, Marvell and Spenser—alongside slighter but exquisite lyrics by such poets as Herrick, Quarles and the medieval ‘anon’s.