Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.

Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages.

Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.

Songs of Faith, Op 97

First line:
Darest thou now, O soul
19 December 1906; No 2 also arranged for SATB by the composer; Nos 4 & 5 orchestrated 1915

Composed between May and December 1906, Stanford’s six Songs of Faith were surely the composer’s own equivalent of Brahms’s Vier ernste Gesänge in their preoccupation with the eschatological themes of death, infinity and the hereafter. Stanford sought his texts not from the Bible but from the searching religious poetry of Tennyson and the bold, eloquent, unorthodox prose of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The grand, moral properties of this poetical material also embodied a strong sense of narrative which induced Stanford to create some of his most fertile and dramatic through-composed musical structures.

The first of the Whitman settings, To the Soul, utilises the text made famous in Vaughan Williams’s ‘Song for Chorus and Orchestra’, Toward the Unknown Region, commissioned by the Leeds Festival (under Stanford’s aegis) in 1907, raising the question as to whether Stanford was prompted by Vaughan Williams’s choice of text or whether it was coincidence. The mood of the song, with its muscular harmonic language and broad architectural strokes, is one of nobility and courage in the face of the unknown region of death and triumphant oblivion beyond.

Joy, shipmate, joy!, famous as the fourth of Delius’s Songs of Farewell, deploys and develops the metaphor of a ship, freeing itself joyously from its long anchorage and leaping swiftly from the shore into the unknown expanse of the great sea. Whitman’s nautical imagery is reflected in Stanford’s wave-like accompanimental contours and the shipmate’s cry, though it is perhaps the ship’s serene disappearance over the horizon together with the singer’s ‘distant’ exultation that sticks in the mind.

In 1913 Stanford used the material of To the Soul and Joy, shipmate, joy! to create a single choral movement titled Song of the Soul, Op 97b. This was offered to Professor Horatio Parker (of Yale University), President of the Litchfield County Choral Union for their 1915 Festival, though in the end Stanford agreed instead to orchestrate To the Soul and the second Whitman song, Tears, for large forces.

from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2000


English Orchestral Songs
CDA67065Archive Service
Stanford: Songs, Vol. 2
English Romantic Madrigals
Studio Master: CDA68140Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


No 2: God and the universe  Will my tiny spark of being wholly vanish in your deeps and heights?
author of text
No 2: 1892, from The death of Oenone, and other poems

Track 17 on CDA68140 [5'36]
No 4: To the soul  Darest thou now, O soul
author of text

Track 4 on CDA67065 [4'41] Archive Service
Track 16 on CDA67124 [4'55]
No 5: Tears
author of text

Track 5 on CDA67065 [4'59] Archive Service
No 6: Joy, shipmate, joy!
author of text

Track 17 on CDA67124 [1'49]

Track-specific metadata

Click track numbers above to select
Waiting for content to load...
Waiting for content to load...