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Nunc dimittis, H127

1915; composed for Richard Runciman Terry and the choir of Westminster Cathedral who gave the first performance in Easter Sunday 1915; not published until 1979 (edited by Imogen Holst)
author of text
Luke 2: 29-32

The unaccompanied Nunc dimittis, H127, was written in 1915 and remained in manuscript form until 1979 when a published edition appeared, revised by the composer’s daughter, Imogen Holst. For soprano and tenor soloists and unaccompanied eight-part choir, the piece was written for Richard Terry, then organist of Westminster Cathedral. It was first performed liturgically on Easter Sunday, 1915, after which it was totally forgotten. The first performance of the revised version was given by the BBC Singers under Stephen Wilkinson on 11 June 1974 in Framlington Church.

Holst was passionate about the music of Byrd and Palestrina, which is clearly shown here in the modal writing, and the way the male and female voices of the choir answer each other antiphonally as, for example, at the words ‘Lumen ad revelationem gentium’. The piece was originally composed in B flat, although for the revised version recorded here the music was transposed down a semitone to A. It makes a fitting conclusion to this recital of wonderful but little-known music whose current neglect is as baffling as it is inexcusable.

from notes by Julian Haylock © 1989

Le texte de la Chanson de Siméon—le Nunc dimittis—apparaît dans l’Evangile selon saint Luc, dans les complies de l’Église catholique et dans la prière du soir anglicane. Cette mise en musique de Gustav Holst pour chœur mixte non accompagné à huit parties, utilise la version latine tirée de la Vulgate. Ecrite en 1915, elle fut chantée pour la première fois à la cathédrale de Westminster en avril de la même année, dans le cadre d’une série de pièces chorales que Sir Richard Terry, alors maître de musique de la cathédrale, avait commandées aux principaux compositeurs de l’époque—série à laquelle contribuèrent non seulement Holst, mais aussi notamment Stanford, Vaughan Williams, Arnold Bax et Herbert Howells.

extrait des notes rédigées par Wadham Sutton © 1993
Français: Jean-Paul Metzger

Die Worte des Simon—das Nunc dimittis—sind aus dem Lukas-Evangelium, aus dem Komplet der katholischen Kirche und dem anglikanischen Abendgebet bekannt. Gustav Holsts Umsetzung für achtstimmigen gemischten Chor ohne Begleitung beruht auf der lateinischen Version im Vulgate. Es stammt aus dem Jahr 1915 und wurde erstmals in der Kathedrale von Westminster im April des gleichen Jahres gesungen, als eines einer Reihe von Chorstücken, die der erste Master of Music der Kathedrale Sir Richard Terry von führenden Komponisten jener Zeit erbat. Nicht nur Holst, sondern auch Stanford, Vaughan Williams, Arnold Bax und Herbert Howells trugen unter anderem zu dieser laufenden Serie bei.

aus dem Begleittext von Wadham Sutton © 1993
Deutsch: Heidi Kerschl


Epiphany at St Paul's
Holst: The Evening Watch & other choral works
COLCD125Download only
O sacrum convivium
SIGCD127Download only
Panis angelicus
The music of Westminster Cathedral Choir
WCC100Super-budget price sampler


Track 16 on CDH55443 [3'36]
Track 17 on CDH55170 [3'23]
Track 18 on CDA66669 [3'31]
Track 12 on WCC100 [3'31] Super-budget price sampler
Track 12 on COLCD125 [4'00] Download only
Track 6 on SIGCD127 [3'13] Download only

Track-specific metadata for CDA66669 track 18

Recording date
15 June 1993
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Panis angelicus (CDA66669)
    Disc 1 Track 18
    Release date: November 1993
  2. The music of Westminster Cathedral Choir (WCC100)
    Disc 1 Track 12
    Release date: October 1998
    Super-budget price sampler
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