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My song is love unknown

commissioned by Nigel Short for Tenebrae in 2002 and dedicated to Francis Garcia and Becky Hookway for their wedding, 27 December 2007; first performed in its a cappella version at St Luke’s, Chelsea, London, on 12 September 2002
author of text
author of text
Latin text

I have admired John Ireland’s hymn Love unknown ever since I sang it as a boy, but it was in response to a beautiful interpretation by the jazz saxophonist Ben Castle (son of the late Sir Roy) that I chose this text. Fragments and phrases from Ireland’s melody are developed, re-harmonised and passed around the different voices. Further melodic material then arises from that jazz-influenced re-harmonization, particularly the bass-line at the very start of the piece. Ideally the quartet of soloists, who 'comment' on the text in a Latin translation/commentary by my friend Francis Garcia, should be placed at a distance from the main choir, as if to create a kind of ethereal Greek Chorus.

from notes by Alexander L'Estrange � 2016


L'Estrange: On eagles' wings & other sacred music
Studio Master: SIGCD454Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 9 on SIGCD454 [8'48] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD454 track 9

Recording date
17 April 2015
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Nicholas Parker
Recording engineer
Andrew Mellor
Hyperion usage
  1. L'Estrange: On eagles' wings & other sacred music (SIGCD454)
    Disc 1 Track 9
    Release date: April 2016
    Download only
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