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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The eponymous first song sets a sensual poem by Tennyson in which the closing of flowers as night draws on suggests the union of two lovers. The setting is delicate and reflective but exploits the full range of the choir’s vocal resources. Lady, when I behold the roses sprouting uses a typical English madrigal text, paraphrased from a 16th-century Italian original. The play of dual tonalities expresses the poet’s flattering confusion: is he seeing his lady’s red lips or the petals of a rose? Upon a bank with roses set about contrasts a peaceful pastoral idyll with the sharp pain of a thwarted lover. Fast-moving and quiet, the music evokes a murmuring brook with micro-polyphony and rippling lines, interrupted when the voice of wounded Love is briefly heard.
The final poem, a setting of the Christmas text A spotless rose, is the emotional heart of the cycle, recalling the musical material of all the other three movements. An aural depiction of the petals of a rose unfurling culminates at the words ‘fairest bud unfolds to light’, and the cycle comes gently to rest on a rich B major chord.
from notes by Mandy Macdonald © 2013
|Mealor & Britten: … the flowers have their angels|
The Rodolfus Choir marks both Benjamin Britten’s centenary year and the 30th anniversary of the choir’s first concert. The album includes the premiere recording of Paul Mealor’s 'Praise', commissioned especially for the choir.» More