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Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs & Other British Choral

Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs & Other British Choral

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Featuring Vaughan Williams’ masterly and intensely personal Five Mystical Songs, this album reflects on the sources of inspiration of some of his sacred choral works, alongside gems of 19th- and early-20th-century English church music. Often setting the poetry of the King James Bible, the finely spun melodies and sensitivity to word-rhythm of composers from S.S. Wesley to Herbert Howells result in a uniquely British form of expression.

REVIEWS:

An exquisite performance of The Call by Roderick Williams and Martin Ford is a highlight of this Vaughan Williams collection. As ever, the Vasari Singers are confident advocates for repertoire that they and their conductor know very well, scrupulously adhering to every musical detail and editorial mark.

-- Choir & Organ

Particularly thrilling is the performance of `Lord, Who Hast Made Us for Thine Own’, a stirring Psalm setting by VW’s close friend Gustav Holst, which makes inventive use of the hymn tune Lasst uns Erfreuen. With frequent modulations and variations, like having the basses sing the tune in augmentation under the upper voices, the work builds ecstatically with repeated exclamations of “Alleluia!”

Most of these anthems are well known and often performed, so perhaps the work on this album with the main appeal is 5 Mystical Songs with texts by the 17th Century metaphysical priest-poet, George Herbert. VW wrote them for a baritone soloist and offered several choices for accompaniment: orchestra with optional SATB chorus as performed at the premiere, piano only, piano and string quartet, and wind ensemble. The version heard in this program is a very effective new arrangement by Martin Ford for baritone, chorus, and organ based on the basic keyboard reduction in the vocal score and the full orchestral score.

Roderick Williams brings all the wonders of his superb artistry to this performance—his glowing tonal warmth, superb shaping of the text, and impeccable articulation of it. I heartily concur with Paul Althouse, who in a review a few years ago wrote that Williams is a singer “who has a voice you’ll never tire of”.

-- American Record Guide

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Product Description:


  • Release Date: October 14, 2022


  • UPC: 747313441679


  • Catalog Number: 8574416


  • Label: Naxos


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Period: 20th Century


  • Composer: Harold Darke, Edward Elgar, Patrick Hadley, Gustav Holst, Herbert Howells, Charles Villiers Stanford, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, Ralph Vaughan Williams


  • Conductor: Hans Graf


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Vasari Singers


  • Performer: Jeremy Backhouse, Roderick Williams, Martin Ford



Works:


  1. O clap your hands

    Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Performer: Martin Ford (Organ)

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse


  2. Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 36, "Enigma": Variation 9: Nimrod

    Composer: Edward Elgar

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse


  3. 2 Psalms: Psalm 148, "Lord, Who hast made us for thine own"

    Composer: Gustav Holst

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Performer: Martin Ford (Organ)

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse


  4. O Gladsome Light, Op. 38, No. 2

    Composer: Herbert Howells

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse


  5. 4 Anthems: No. 3. Like as the hart

    Composer: Edward Elgar

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Performer: Martin Ford (Organ)

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse


  6. Give unto the Lord, Op. 74, "Psalm 29"

    Composer: Samuel Wesley

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Performer: Martin Ford (Organ)

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse


  7. Wash me throughly

    Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Performer: Martin Ford (Organ)

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse


  8. O Taste and See

    Composer: Samuel Wesley

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Performer: Martin Ford (Organ)

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse


  9. Blessed be the God and Father

    Composer: Charles Villiers Stanford

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Performer: Martin Ford (Organ)

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse


  10. Bible Songs, Op. 113: No. 6. A Song of Wisdom

    Composer: Patrick Hadley

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Performer: Martin Ford (Organ)

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse


  11. My Beloved Spake

    Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Performer: Martin Ford (Organ)

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse


  12. 5 Mystical Songs

    Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Ensemble: Vasari Singers

    Performer: Roderick Williams (Baritone), Martin Ford (Organ)

    Conductor: Jeremy Backhouse