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In Bennett’s setting a solo cello suggests the central character of the sturdy old soldier looking back over past battles, reflecting on the passing of time and the transience of military glory, youth, and life itself. Solo instrumental writing always appealed to Bennett, and in A Farewell to Arms he successfully integrates an eloquent, romantic cello part—Walton’s string concertos made an early and deep impression on him—with almost madrigalian vocal writing. There are appropriately retrospective touches: archaic Burgundian cadence figures with their sharpened fourths, echoes of Dowland’s lute songs, Purcellian scotch-snap rhythms on the word ‘Goddess’. The tightest of motivic unity holds this rich variety of elements together, until the final dying cello pizzicatos seem to tell us that the faithful old warrior has drawn his last breath.
from notes by Collegium Records © 2005
|Bennett (RR): Sea change & other choral works|
Taking advantage of the latest advances in audio technology, this re-release of the first recorded survey of choral music the composer Richard Rodney Bennett is presented in a new stereo mix for the first time, in a spirit of tribute to his long ...» More