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Full fathom five is a play on the sound of tolling bells, in multi-divided upper voices while the basses sing an undulating melody beneath. There is a little quirk though. If one takes the first four notes of either ‘O taste and see’ or the hymn tune: ‘For all the saints’ by the same composer, and sings them simultaneously, the result is the cluster-chord on ‘Ding’. The tenors, on ‘Dong’, then provide that clanging dissonance which employs the same interval inherent in bell overtones. A central, contrasting section is classic Vaughan Williams: parallel triads which transform, punning beautifully with the text, into the strangest superimposition of chords on ‘strange’.
The cloud-capp’d towers is a masterful test-piece for choirs to prove their collective tuning skills, but has also become a favourite for its ravishing colour-changes reminiscent of progressions in his 6th Symphony.
Over hill, over dale is in essence a Scherzo, with some similarities to the choral-scherzo (third movement) of his Sea Symphony. The keen listener might recognise the same interval-span on ‘hill’ and ‘dale’ as was used in the tolling-bell-effect in the first song.
from notes by Greg Murray © 2016
|All in the April Evening|
'It's a delightful disc … if there was a 'Critics' Fancy' it would be there sure enough' (Gramophone)
'This is a delightfully nostalgic trip through English part-singing from the first half of the 20th century. The programme is deftly chosen and Laudib ...» More
|Music of the Spheres|
A warmly recorded feast of choral music from the expert singers of Tenebrae, and a seamless journey from Elgar and Vaughan Williams to Bingham and Chilcott which takes in some welcome rarities along the way.» More
|There is sweet music|
Featuring masterpieces by Benjamin Britten (Five Flower Songs), Vaughan Williams (Three Shakespeare Songs), Stanford, Delius and Elgar alongside folk-song arrangements by Bairstow, Chapman, Grainger, Holst, Moeran and Stanford, this collection hig ...» More
|Vaughan Williams: Over hill, over dale|
'This new Vaughan Williams collection complements the Holst Singers' critically acclaimed 1993 CD of Holst partsongs (CDH55171) and is equally impress ...
'A most worthwhile enterprise, strongly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)» More