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The splendour falls on castle walls

author of text

To music-lovers familiar with Benjamin Britten’s memorable setting of The splendour falls in his Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, it may come as a surprise that Delius set the same words equally memorably twenty years earlier, in 1923. Both composers responded imaginatively to the line ‘the horns of Elfland faintly blowing’, Britten with a real horn, Delius by imitating the sound of horns with a male-voice semichorus that he directs to be placed apart from the main choir. Both composers stamped personal fingerprints on their settings, Britten with his favourite piled-up thirds, Delius with his gently sliding and elusive chromatic harmony. Delius’s setting, which deserves to be heard more often, was written for Charles Kennedy Scott’s Oriana Madrigal Society, which had given the first performance of Delius’s two pieces To be sung of a summer night on the water three years earlier.

from notes by Collegium Records © 2002


Cambridge Singers A Cappella
CSCD509Download only


Track 11 on CSCD509 [3'22] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CSCD509 track 11

Recording date
1 May 1992
Recording venue
Great Hall, University College School, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Jillian White
Recording engineer
Campbell Hughes
Hyperion usage
  1. Cambridge Singers A Cappella (CSCD509)
    Disc 1 Track 11
    Release date: October 2002
    Download only
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