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Town and Country


Town and Country was one of Bennett’s collaborations on record with Marian Montgomery; issued as an LP in 1974—but it is also the title of a choral diptych composed in 2002. This opens with an evocative treatment of Wordsworth’s 1807 poem ‘The Sun has long been set’, but this is in a sense only a prelude to the title poem, ‘Town and Country Life’, a witty exercise in contrasts that firmly plumps for the delights of the former. This is in fact a setting of a poem more usually entitled ‘The Contrast’ by an elder contemporary of Wordsworth, Charles Morris (1745-1838), published first in 1795 and anthologized in Lyrica Urbanica, or The Social Effusions of the Celebrated Captain Charles Morris of the Late Lifeguards (1840). Morris was a dedicated devotee of London life and fashion, and Bennett’s lively and good-humoured setting decidedly takes his side in the town-and-country debate, just as he had previously seemed to wholly accept Wordsworth’s point of view.

from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2012


Bennett (RR): My dancing day & other choral works
SIGCD293Download only


No 1: The sun has long been set
Track 5 on SIGCD293 [1'55] Download only
No 2: Town and Country  In London I never know what I'll be at
Track 6 on SIGCD293 [5'09] Download only

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