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On Time, Op 142

First line:
Fly envious Time, till thou run out thy race
May 1914; SATB SATB; composed for the Bristol Madrigal Society
author of text

Stanford’s setting of Milton’s On Time, Op 142, and Parry’s setting of Keats’s ballad La belle dame sans merci were both composed in 1914 for the Bristol Madrigal Society, as commemorative pieces for the Jubilee of the Society’s conductor, Daniel Wilberforce Rootham. Sung by the Society in a ‘Ladies’ Night’ programme given on 14 January 1915 in the Victoria Rooms, Bristol, under Rootham’s direction, both works made considerable demands on the Society’s singers.

Stanford’s brilliant canvas for double choir powerfully communicates Milton’s contempt for Time, which may consume all before it, but man, touched by the divine, is more fortunate in his inheritance of eternal life. The overwhelming mood of Stanford’s choral song is one of haste and urgency in both the opening paragraph (‘Fly envious Time’) and the impatience of the rousing coda (‘Attir’d with Stars, we shall for ever sit’), but perhaps most striking of all is the expression of hope and aspiration of the central exultation (‘Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss’).

from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2016


English Romantic Madrigals
Studio Master: CDA68140Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Music of the Spheres
Studio Master: SIGCD904Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 18 on CDA68140 [6'20]
Track 16 on SIGCD904 [5'16] Download only

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