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Herbert Murrill - Music of the Spheres: Part Songs of the British Isles

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Music of the Spheres: Part Songs of the British Isles

Tenebrae, Nigel Short

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The part song is a largely British form consisting of a four-part choral setting of a secular poem, generally with the melody in the top line. It grew out of semi-professional genres such as the glee, and over time, in the hands of major composers, it took on contrapuntal trappings and greater expressive ambitions, but it never lost its basic orientation toward clear, homophonic text settings. This collection by the fine English choir Tenebrae under director Nigel Short would make a good introduction to the genre, but will also attract those who have a few albums' worth of part songs in their collections, with some standard works interspersed with real finds from Short. Shakespeare's song texts have an ongoing association with the part song, and there are familiar (Vaughan Williams) and novel (Herbert Murrill) settings here. Other works draw on the lyric poetry of Tennyson, Shelley, and the other 19th century lyric poets who populate the genre, with the contemporary composer Bob Chilcott, whose settings tend toward radiant simplicity, being the only one to take American texts, by Walt Whitman, as source material. The songs range from the early 20th century to the early 21st, and an interesting feature of the tradition is its discrete quality, with composers responding to earlier works. The Drowned Lovers, by Judith Bingham, for instance, was conceived as a prelude to Charlies Villiers Stanford's The Blue Bird, Op. 119. The latter, an almost static work featuring one of Stanford's most striking harmonic experiments, should be sampled on several counts: it represents the considerable technical demands the part song has at times made on performers, the full adequacy of Tenebrae in meeting those demands, and most importantly, the sheer beauty of which the genre is capable. Many of these pieces have more in common with art song than with larger choral genres. Strong sound and text intelligibility from London's acoustically superb All Hallows Church add to the appeal.
© TiVo

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Music of the Spheres: Part Songs of the British Isles

Herbert Murrill

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1
Two Songs from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night: No. 1, O Mistress Mine
Nigel Short
00:01:24

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Herbert Murrill, Composer

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

2
Two Songs from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night: No. 2, Come Away, Death
Nigel Short
00:03:30

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Herbert Murrill, Composer

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

3
Autumn, H.24
Nigel Short
00:03:46

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Frank Bridge, Composer

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

4
Music When Soft Voices Die, H.31
Nigel Short
00:02:53

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Frank Bridge, Composer

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

5
The Bee, H.110
Nigel Short
00:01:13

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Frank Bridge, Composer

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

6
Three Shakespeare Songs: No. 1, Full Fathom Five
Nigel Short
00:03:21

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

7
Three Shakespeare Songs: No. 2, The Cloud-Capp’d Towers
Nigel Short
00:02:24

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

8
Three Shakespeare Songs: No. 3, Over Hill, Over Dale
Nigel Short
00:00:57

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Composer - Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

9
Four Part-Songs, Op. 53: No. 1, There is Sweet Music
Nigel Short
00:04:23

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Sir Edward ELGAR, Composer

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

10
Four Part-Songs, Op. 53: No. 2, Deep in My Soul
Nigel Short
00:04:51

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Sir Edward ELGAR, Composer

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

11
Four Part-Songs, Op. 53: No. 3, O Wild, West Wind
Nigel Short
00:03:57

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Sir Edward ELGAR, Composer

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

12
Four Part-Songs, Op. 53: No. 4, Owls
Nigel Short
00:02:52

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Sir Edward ELGAR, Composer

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

13
Soft Music, Op. 48
Nigel Short
00:02:04

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Ernest Walker, Composer

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

14
The Drowned Lovers
Nigel Short
00:05:43

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Judith Bingham, Composer - Martha Mclorinan, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

15
8 Part-Songs, Op.119: No. 3, The Blue Bird
Nigel Short
00:04:09

Charles Villiers Stanford, Composer - Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

16
On Time, Op. 142
Nigel Short
00:05:15

Charles Villiers Stanford, Composer - Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

17
Song of June
Nigel Short
00:04:36

Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist - Jonathan Harvey, Composer

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

18
The Modern Man I Sing: No. 1, The Runner
Nigel Short
00:02:34

Bob Chilcott, Composer - Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

19
The Modern Man I Sing: No. 2, The Last Invocation
Nigel Short
00:02:49

Bob Chilcott, Composer - Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

20
The Modern Man I Sing: No. 3, One’s-Self I Sing
Nigel Short
00:02:14

Bob Chilcott, Composer - Nigel Short, Conductor - Tenebrae, MainArtist

(C) 2016 Signum Records (P) 2016 Signum Records

Album Description

The part song is a largely British form consisting of a four-part choral setting of a secular poem, generally with the melody in the top line. It grew out of semi-professional genres such as the glee, and over time, in the hands of major composers, it took on contrapuntal trappings and greater expressive ambitions, but it never lost its basic orientation toward clear, homophonic text settings. This collection by the fine English choir Tenebrae under director Nigel Short would make a good introduction to the genre, but will also attract those who have a few albums' worth of part songs in their collections, with some standard works interspersed with real finds from Short. Shakespeare's song texts have an ongoing association with the part song, and there are familiar (Vaughan Williams) and novel (Herbert Murrill) settings here. Other works draw on the lyric poetry of Tennyson, Shelley, and the other 19th century lyric poets who populate the genre, with the contemporary composer Bob Chilcott, whose settings tend toward radiant simplicity, being the only one to take American texts, by Walt Whitman, as source material. The songs range from the early 20th century to the early 21st, and an interesting feature of the tradition is its discrete quality, with composers responding to earlier works. The Drowned Lovers, by Judith Bingham, for instance, was conceived as a prelude to Charlies Villiers Stanford's The Blue Bird, Op. 119. The latter, an almost static work featuring one of Stanford's most striking harmonic experiments, should be sampled on several counts: it represents the considerable technical demands the part song has at times made on performers, the full adequacy of Tenebrae in meeting those demands, and most importantly, the sheer beauty of which the genre is capable. Many of these pieces have more in common with art song than with larger choral genres. Strong sound and text intelligibility from London's acoustically superb All Hallows Church add to the appeal.
© TiVo

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