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In Pastures Green

In Pastures Green

Ref: CDG1092

19 tracks 60 min
Click here to preview trk 2

A meditation in psalms, poems and music

A treasury of favourite psalms, poetry and music, from the immortal 23rd psalm to Thomas Hardy's poignant evocations of English country churches, complemented by music such as Vaughan Williams' magnificent 'Tallis' fantasia.

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In pastures green
A meditation in music and words
A treasury of favourite psalms, cherished music and poetry, from the immortal 23rd psalm to Thomas Hardy's poignant evocations of English rural churches. The poetry is complemented by well-known favourites such as 'Crimond' and Vaughan Williams' magnificent 'Tallis Fantasia'.

Read by Margaret Howard and Bernard Palmer

1 The Lord's my shepherd - Psalm 23 'Crimond' (JS Irvine) 1836-1887
2 Afternoon Service Thomas Hardy 1840-1928
3 Jesu, Joy of man's desiring Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750
4 The Psalm Robert Bridges 1844-1930
5 Sing Joyfully - Psalm 33 William Byrd 1543-1623
6 Out of the depths Psalm 130
7 Sanctus John Taverner c.1490-1545
8 Death, be not proud John Donne 1572-1631
9 Fantasia in G minor - BWV 542i Johann Sebastian Bach
10 Barthelemon & Awake my soul Thomas Hardy & F H Barthelemon
11 Sunrise John Clare 1793-1864
12 Adagio - BWV 564ii Johann Sebastian Bach
13 The Choirmaster's burial Thomas Hardy
14 Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis Ralph Vaughan Williams 1872-1958
15 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills Psalm 121
16 The spacious firmament on high Richard Addison 1672-1719
17 The spacious firmament on high Bernard Rose 1916-1996
18 O praise God Psalm 150
19 O praise God - Psalm 150 Bernard Rose

The Victoria Singers directed by Sarah Tenant-Flowers (track 1)
English Renaissance, directed by Michael Stoddart (tracks 5 & 7)
The choir of Magdalen College, Oxford, directed by Bernard Rose (tracks 17 & 19)
The choir of Norwich Cathedral, directed by David Dunnet (track 10, courtesy of Rainbow Productions Ltd)
BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult (track 14)
Organ and piano solos played by Martin Souter

Published by Classical Communications Ltd
P & C 2004 Classical Communications Ltd
Image: View of Hinckley, Leicestershire by English School (19th century), New Walk Museum, Leicester City Museum Service/Bridgeman Art Library
Made in Great Britain

Inside Book:

In Pastures Green
A meditation in music and words

This meditation draws on the Psalms of David and English poetry interleaved with music. The music has been carefully placed in the programme to allow time for reflection on the spoken words.

The Psalms of David contain some of the most beautifully poetic texts in the Bible. The psalms are read on this recording from the King James translation of the bible which first appeared in 1611. This 'authorised' version uses a particularly beautiful form of the English language and was very influential for centuries following its publication. Its choice of vocabulary and grammar have formed the basis of so much of the written and spoken language which followed it. The poetry of Thomas Hardy is far less well-known than his novels about the West country, but his output is full of well-observed gems such as 'Barthelemon' and 'The Choirmaster's burial'. John Donne and Joseph Addison are two of our most famous English poets. Donne in particular, took great care over the sound of his poetry and his use of imagery was taken up and developed by John Clare two hundred years later. Addison was a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. Robert Bridges was of the same generation as Thomas Hardy. He was connected with Oxford for most of his life, as were some of the composers we have gathered together.

The musical examples are chosen from some of the greatest musicians of their period. William Byrd was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I in the late sixteenth century and his choral music is famous for its contrapuntal skill combined with a freshness and immediacy of expression which have not been blunted by the passage of time. John Taverner was one of Byrd's English predecessors, an Oxford composer, and he was one of the first to develop the compositional techniques of which Byrd made such a brilliant use. Johann Sebastian Bach had one of the greatest minds of any human being. Two twentieth-century English composers both knew and admired the music of these and many other past masters. The music of Ralph Vaughan Williams is imbued with a feeling for the music of Byrd's time. The 'Fantasia' heard here uses a theme composed by Byrd's teacher, Thomas Tallis. Bernard Rose, of a later generation even than Vaughan Williams, also knew and revered the music of the past. He knew Vaughan Williams and was involved in the first performance at The Queen's College, Oxford, of some significant music, the 'Oxford Elegy', which was written by the elder composer in the late 1940s. Rose's own magnificent choral music has a harmonic idiom of its own, always informed by the music of the past and by the techniques of Vaughan Williams and other English composers of the early twentieth century. Like Joseph Addison, Rose was a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford for many years. The two anthems heard here (tracks 17 & 19) were recorded in the college chapel in 1981.

Martin Souter, executive producer

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