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Upheld by stillness

First line:
It burns in the void
2014; SST soli + SSSAATTBB; a reflection on the Sanctus and Benedictus from Byrd's Mass for five voices; commissioned by Suzi Digby
author of text
The World

Park was one of five composers commissioned in 2014 by Suzi Digby, conductor of the London-based professional chamber choir ORA, to write ‘reflections’ on a movement of Byrd’s Mass for five voices—a genre currently being quite widely cultivated in choral composition, whereby an old piece is made the basis of a new one. He chose the Sanctus and Benedictus (which count as a single movement), and it was first performed, along with the other four ‘reflections’ and Byrd’s Mass, at a concert given by ORA in 2016. The music of Upheld by stillness seems to inhabit a floating dream world where fragments of the ‘old’ music drift in and out of the texture. The ‘it’ in the first line of Kathleen Raine’s poem refers to the world. Park writes:

I was instantly drawn to Kathleen Raine’s The World when looking for a text for this reflection. Its themes perfectly corresponded with my idea of Byrd’s Sanctus being an expansive, continually evolving work. It is a fascinating poem, manipulating only six ideas but creating an effortless circle of themes, interweaving and inextricably linked. Elements of the poem are reflected in this piece as well as melodic lines from Byrd’s original composition, which are often set against a backdrop of shimmering chords. While composing this piece, I kept the partbooks of the Mass in my sightline as a constant influence on the shapes and contours of the music. There is a sense of travel in the continuous humming, often linking sections as themes are passed around the voices. The ‘Osanna’ section borrows just the open vowels of the original text to create a warm, engulfing sound. This idea is heard twice in the piece, the second time returning elongated and more joyous.

from notes by John Rutter © 2018


Park: Choral works
Studio Master: CDA68191Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 2 on CDA68191 [6'20]

Track-specific metadata for CDA68191 track 2

Recording date
7 July 2017
Recording venue
Trinity College Chapel, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
David Hinitt
Hyperion usage
  1. Park: Choral works (CDA68191)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: September 2018
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