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Flora's Queen

First line:
Room! Room! For Flora’s Queen!
1899; SSATBB
author of text

In 1899, Walter Parratt, Master of the Queen’s Musick, and Arthur Benson, a housemaster at Eton College, conceived the idea of a collection of ‘choral songs’ in emulation of The Triumphs of Oriana to mark Queen Victoria’s eightieth birthday. As the preface to the collection enunciated:

It was the custom of bygone days for sovereigns to require and for subjects to express respect and devotion in terms of unmeasured hyperbole; such conventional homage added little lustre to the monarch for whose honour it was designed; the current coin of compliment rang hollow. Your Majesty has taught your subjects to value sincerity above praise, and genuine affections above indiscriminate adulation; the auspicious year in which your Majesty attains in health and vigour a patriarchal age, gives your Majesty’s servants a natural opportunity for expressing the devotion to your Throne and Person which lies at the heart of all your subjects.

In these works the spirit of part-song was now predominant, but it did not prevent some of the thirteen composers from deferring to the madrigal style. Stainer’s setting of his son’s poem Flora’s Queen is a thoroughly entertaining essay in Renaissance modal harmony and imitation, Handelian grandeur (replete with quasi cantus firmus acclamations of ‘Long live Victoria!’) and a coda ‘poached’, as Stainer wryly admitted, from Gibbons.

from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2016


English Romantic Madrigals
Studio Master: CDA68140Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 12 on CDA68140 [5'15]

Track-specific metadata for CDA68140 track 12

Recording date
25 April 2015
Recording venue
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
David Hinitt
Hyperion usage
  1. English Romantic Madrigals (CDA68140)
    Disc 1 Track 12
    Release date: June 2016
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