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A Hymn for St Cecilia

for the Livery Club of the Worshipful Company of Musicians; first performed on 22 November 1961 in St Paul's Cathedral; SATB with organ
author of text

A Hymn for St Cecilia, commissioned by the Livery Club of the Worshipful Company of Musicians to mark Howells’s Mastership of the Company in 1959–60, sets a poem in praise of the Patron Saint of music by Ursula Vaughan Williams as a three-verse hymn. The wonderful dancing-on-tiptoe nature of this piece takes its cue from the syncopated first vocal entry and each phrase finds increasingly high notes as the verse goes on. It is a classic ‘cumulative’ tune which carries the singer along on a tide of increasing emotional energy and leaves an impression of being a piece much bigger than its constituent parts.

from notes by Paul Spicer © 2005

Commande du Livery Club of the Worshipful Company of Musicians pour marquer l’arrivée de Howells à sa tête, en 1959–60, A Hymn for St Cecilia met en musique un poème à la louange de la sainte patronne de la musique—une hymne en trois strophes d’Ursula Vaughan Williams. Le merveilleux caractère «dansant sur la pointe des pieds» de cette pièce prend appui sur la première entrée vocale syncopée, et chaque phrase rencontre des notes toujours plus aiguës à mesure que la strophe se déroule, engendrant un air «cumulatif» classique qui emporte l’interprète vocal sur une vague d’énergie émo­tionnelle croissante. Voilà une œuvre qui donne l’impression d’être plus imposante que ses composantes.

extrait des notes rédigées par Paul Spicer © 2005
Français: Hypérion

A Hymn for St Cecilia ist ein Auftragswerk des Livery Club der Worshipful Company of Musicians zu Howells’ Ernennung zum Master der Company 1959–1960. Dieses Werk vertont ein zu Ehren der Schutzgöttin der Musik verfasstes Gedicht von Ursula Vaughan Williams in Form einer dreistrophigen Hymne. Die wunderbar vorsichtige Tanzart dieses Stücks übernimmt ihr Stichwort aus dem synkopierten ersten Einsatz der Stimmen. Im Verlauf der Strophe findet jede Phrase zunehmend höhere Noten. Die Sänger werden mithilfe einer klassischen „anwachsenden“ Melodie auf einer Welle zuneh­mender emotionaler Energie fortgetragen. Das Stück gehört zu jenen, deren Ganzes einen gewaltigeren Eindruck hinterlässt als die Summe seiner einzelnen Bestandteile.

aus dem Begleittext von Paul Spicer © 2005
Deutsch: Elke Hockings


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SIGCD691Download only Available Friday 19 November 2021
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Studio Master: SIGCD491Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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The English Anthem, Vol. 4
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Track 7 on SIGCD691 [3'27] Download only Available Friday 19 November 2021
Track 2 on CDH55456 [3'17] Last few CD copies remaining
Track 1 on CDA67914 [3'07]
Track 8 on CDA68047 [3'10]
Track 4 on CDA66678 [3'14] Archive Service
Track 16 on SIGCD190 [3'07] Download only
Track 2 on SIGCD491 [3'17] Download only

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