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The house of the mind

First line:
As earth’s pageant passes by
author of text

Howells's motet The house of the mind of 1954 is a meditation on a seventeenth-century poem by Joseph Beaumont concerned with the mind as a place of inward refuge in which God can dwell. Howells contrasts the quiet introspection advocated in the poem’s opening stanza with a stirring evocation of the unconquerable power of the mind (‘a close immured tower’) to withstand ‘all hostile power’ in the second stanza. The third stanza opens with an evocative sample of the ethereal manner of writing for upper voices and organ which Howells had exploited in the famous openings of his Magnificat settings for King’s College, Cambridge, and Gloucester Cathedral. To represent the mystery of God inhabiting the human mind at the beginning of the final stanza (‘Th’infinite Creator can dwell in it’), Howells employs unaccompanied chordal declamation possessing an exquisite harmonic intensity and density suggestive of the sound-worlds of parts of his Requiem and Take him, earth, for cherishing.

from notes by Owen Rees © 2018


Howells: The house of the mind & other choral works
Studio Master: SIGCD491Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 6 on SIGCD491 [9'22] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD491 track 6

Recording date
11 January 2017
Recording venue
Church of St Michael and All Angels, Oxford, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Adrian Peacock
Recording engineer
David Hinitt
Hyperion usage
  1. Howells: The house of the mind & other choral works (SIGCD491)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: June 2018
    Download only
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