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Seven Partsongs, H162 Op 44

author of text

The Seven Partsongs for female voices and string orchestra, H162 (Op 44), to words by Robert Bridges (1844–1930), possess a refreshing sense of spontaneity that readily communicates itself. Bridges, Poet Laureate, was a close friend of the composer’s and inspired a large number of vocal settings by him. There can be no doubt that Holst’s personal sense of involvement coupled with his usual technical skill combined in these settings to produce an unjustifiably neglected masterpiece.

The elusive and mystical quality of these poems appealed instinctively to Holst. He later recalled: ‘I did the first of the Bridges poems the moment I caught sight of the words, since when I’ve been wondering what they mean.’ The pivotal tonal centre of the cycle is E, enriched by the composer’s highly personal brand of modal harmony, with its hypersensitive response to the changing moods of the text.

from notes by Julian Haylock © 1989


Holst: The Evening Watch & other choral works


No 1: Say who is this?
Track 10 on CDH55170 [2'54]
No 2: O Love, I complain
Track 11 on CDH55170 [1'22]
No 3: Angel spirits of sleep
Track 12 on CDH55170 [1'42]
No 4: When first we met
Track 13 on CDH55170 [2'06]
No 5: Sorrow and joy
Track 14 on CDH55170 [1'27]
No 6: Love on my heart
Track 15 on CDH55170 [2'37]
No 7: Assemble, all ye maidens
Track 16 on CDH55170 [11'11]

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