Vaughan Williams: Earth's Wide Bounds / Ryan, Vann, Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea
The centerpiece here is the first complete recording of the Communion Service in G minor – the 1923 English translation and revision of the Latin Mass in G minor which had been published just a year earlier. In keeping with the 1662 Anglican communion service then in use, the Gloria comes at the end; the service begins with sung responses to the ten commandments, read for us here by Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury. Five movements require a quartet as well as a double chorus. William Vann has confidence in every member of his Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, so each of those movements has a different quartet, thus giving individual voice to 20 of the choristers. It is surprising that 'By the Bivouac’s Fitful Flame', an early Walt Whitman setting, has lain neglected in manuscript for so long. This lovely setting for unaccompanied chorus started life as a Ballade for quintet in 1904 and was revised as a Nocturne, still for quintet, in 1906. The choral version must have come soon afterwards, thus representing the next stage in the experiment. 'Valiant-for-Truth' is a popular work, but few of the standard reference books on RVW have very much to say about it. Even Michael Kennedy does little more than tell us that it was written in November 1940. That date – when the war news was bleak – is the key to the selection of the text. It has nothing to do with the (then unfinished) opera 'Pilgrim’s Progress' – it’s drawn from altogether the wrong part of the novel – but Mr Valiant-for-Truth had fought three ‘rogues’, emerging scarred but victorious; he passed through the River to his reward, ‘and the trumpets all sounded for him on the other side.’
March 04, 2022
Period: 20th Century
Composer: Ralph Vaughan Williams
Conductor: William Vann
Orchestra/Ensemble: Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea
Performer: Joshua Ryan
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