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I thought I would write a piece that was an allegory for sin and forgiveness, and so the movements move from winter to autumn, cruel weather to a good harvest. In the first movement, Winter, the rhythms are stilted and jagged, describing a vicious winter with the sheep and cows (and their herdsmen) standing frozen and shivering. With the cold comes Death. Spenser warns that you may think yourself invincible, but a freezing winter can carry you off! In the middle movement, Spring, I wanted to give the impression of the mysterious and magical arrival of the first shoots, pushing up through the cold earth. The words are ‘The Lord to me a Shepherd is’, from the 1651 Bay Psalm Book, because I liked the idea of linking the rich English of Spenser with the first art of the Puritan Americans. In the lastmovement, Autumn, the shepherd saves a sheep from the wolf and a beautiful description of autumn ‘all in yellow clad’ follows. The folk song is finally heard in its entirety, like a Morris, ushering in warm weather and redemption. For this recording a small group from the choir walked, while singing, from the west end of the nave up to the choir and back again, a somewhat shorter distance than in the Cathedral-Basilica of St Louis!
from notes by Judith Bingham © 2008
|Bingham: Remoter worlds & other choral works|
Bingham is considered a talented all-round composer, having written for a variety of different ensembles including symphonic wind ensembles, brass bands and solo instrumentalists, but aslo choral music in which she has been commissioned by promine ...» More