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. Herbert Howells was acutely sensitive to the transience of life, having witnessed the loss of friends and contemporaries in the First World War and encountered deep personal tragedy when his son Michael died of polio at the age of just nine.
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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. Herbert Howells was acutely sensitive to the transience of life, having witnessed the loss of friends and contemporaries in the First World War and encountered deep personal tragedy when his son Michael died of polio at the age of just nine.
As a student in London he lost friends and contemporaries to the carnage of the First World War. His Elegy for viola, string quartet and string orchestra, perhaps the first of his works composed explicitly as a memorial, was written in memory of Francis Purcell Warren, a viola player killed on 3 July One of his closest boyhood friends, Ivor Gurney, whose inherent mental instability was almost certainly exacerbated by his experiences in the trenches, was a later, longer drawn-out loss.
Howells himself was exempt from military service on medical grounds due to the onset of Graves Disease, a condition that forced him to give up his first salaried position as sub-organist of Salisbury Cathedral with a loss of income and independence and for a time threatened his life—the ultimate loss.
The loss of income, security, employment, and of friends in the trenches, was not unique to Howells. Many suffered such setbacks and came to terms with them. But the loss of a child is always uniquely poignant and tragic. It is arguable that everything he subsequently wrote was coloured in some way by it. Three of the works recorded here, including the substantial Requiem for unaccompanied voices, are connected in some way to Michael. None of the remaining pieces was specifically composed as a memorial, but everything on this disc comes from a mind that constantly reflected on the passing pageant of life, and is coloured by that process of reflection.
A Hymn for St Cecilia is a beautifully crafted occasional setting. Howells was an active member of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, one of the Livery Companies of the City of London with a history dating back to the middle of the fourteenth century. Once a powerful professional organization with complete control over musical performance in the City, the Company has long been a philanthropic and ceremonial organization and now supports musicians and musical education, awarding prizes, scholarships and medals.
Howells was Master of the Company in —60, and this tribute to the patron saint of musicians was commissioned by the Company in The text is a poem specially written by Ursula Vaughan Williams. The descant to the third verse was a happy afterthought. Added at the request of John Dykes-Bower, the cathedral organist, it lifts this simple setting onto a higher plane. One of the most influential and important figures in the early twentieth-century revival of this music was Richard Terry, who transcribed, edited and performed much of this music with his choir at the newly built Westminster Roman Catholic Cathedral.
Four Anthems to the Blessed Virgin Mary were composed in the space of one week and sung at Easter in the cathedral. The manuscripts are now lost and only two anthems survive Regina caeli and Salve regina in transcripts made by members of the cathedral choir.
The Gloucester Service is an early fruit of the wonderful and rather extraordinary outpouring of music for the Anglican cathedral tradition with which Howells revived his flagging career as a composer after the Second World War. Over three decades Howells composed some twenty settings of the evensong canticles. The set for Gloucester Cathedral was one of the first, written as his mother lay dying in his home town of Lydney in F Magn.
At that first hearing, the Magnificat interested rather than moved me—though the Gloria I think tuned my spirit for the Nunc Dimittis. On the second hearing the Magnificat produced the same effect upon me as the N[unc] D[imittis] at the first; and the N.
We, not I only, found it overwhelming. It is so much more than music making; it is experiencing deep things in the only medium that can do it. I was asked to compose an a cappella work for the commemoration. The text was mine to choose, Biblical or other. Choice was settled when I recalled a poem by Prudentius AD — I had already set it in its medieval Latin years earlier, as a study for Hymnus Paradisi. But now I used none of that unpublished setting.
Nevertheless, this text was often in his mind. But the rain turned away with a sheer beauty of light. Is it too fanciful to suggest that in responding to the shock that the whole world felt at the assassination of John Kennedy, a young man in whom much hope for the future had been invested, Howells found the motivation for what must surely be another memorial for Michael?
Fashioned specially for a building with a spectacular acoustic, consequently employing a less rapidly changing harmonic rhythm than would be possible in a less resonant building, this is a work in which Howells seems at his most confident and optimistic. It is the biggest boned, the most expansive of all his treatments and justifies its reputation as one of the best of his settings for the Anglican liturgy.
The Nunc dimittis, though quiet, is also expansive, building slowly and majestically to its climax. Howells drew on this work first of all for its selection and ordering of texts, which he adopted almost without change. The only difference is that Davies set Psalm where Howells has Psalm The musical structure of both works is very similar.
But these similarities are of course superficial. This is a wonderful, heart-aching work of searing beauty. It may not have been written as a direct response to personal loss, but it is scarcely surprising that it was to this work that Howells returned just a few years later to find both the structure and much of the musical material he needed to make his own response to the deepest, most profound loss of his life. All the world knows and sings the great hymn All my hope on God is founded.
In a broadcast to mark his ninetieth birthday in , Howells recounted how he received the words of this hymn by Robert Bridges in the post one morning whilst in the middle of breakfast. The words had been sent by his friend T P Fielden, director of music at Charterhouse, and the hymn, composed in , was originally called simply A Hymn Tune for Charterhouse , where it was regularly sung.
The descant to the final verse on this recording is by John Rutter. Je devais choisir le texte, biblique ou autre. La musique de Howells sur le texte latin, qui date de environ, est un fragment incomplet.
Der Verlust eines Kindes hingegen ist immer ein schmerzlicher und tragischer Einzelfall. Zum ersten Mal erklang sie am Jahrhunderts zu Anfang des Meine Entscheidung fiel, als ich mich an ein Gedicht des Prudentius — n.
Jahre zuvor hatte ich es bereits im mittellateinischen Original vertont, als Vorstudie zum Hymnus Paradisi. Howells lateinische Vertonung, die um entstand, ist ein unvollendetes Fragment.
Der einzige Unterschied besteht darin, dass Howells den Psalm statt wie Davies den Psalm vertonte. Jedermann im englischen Sprachraum kennt und singt das wunderbare Kirchenlied All my hope on God is founded.
In einer Sendung aus Anlass seines Zugeschickt hatte ihm den Text sein Freund T. Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Don't show me this message again. The elegiac strain in English music of the twentieth century is not confined to Howells; it is to be found in different ways in the music of Delius, Finzi, Gurney and Vaughan Williams, to name but a few.
But Howells seems to have had a particularly acute sense of the impermanence, the brevity and fragility of life. That this arose out of experience from a very early age is beyond doubt. It led to a lifelong anxiety about money and income, which was one of the reasons why Howells never relinquished his teaching post at the Royal College of Music and hardly ever turned down a request to examine or adjudicate at music festivals to risk earning his living by composition alone.
Der Hang der englischen Musik des
Howells Salve Regina Latin Satb
This is a lovely, even sweet, setting of a traditional Latin prayer to the Virgin Mary to intercede with her son on humanity's behalf. Herbert Howells wrote it as he was just ending his student years and was embarking on a career that his mentors and contemporaries expected to be a brilliant one. As it turned out, he established a mighty reputation as a choral and vocal writer, particularly of cathedral music, while his orchestral and instrumental music was neglected -- unjustly, as late twentieth century revivals tended to show. Only this one and a Regina Coeli are still extant. They are treated today as separate compositions. Howells ' vision is gentle and ecstatic, pointed toward the promise of the prayer: after being expelled from Paradise and the resulting stay in this "vale of tears," that exile may end with meeting Christ. The setting is in a late-Romantic style, though it is informed with the teaching he had of the great English madrigalists.
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