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Worldes Joie / Long Long Ago
Bax, Howells, Spicer
Worldes Joie / Long Long Ago
Genres: Folk, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Bax, Howells, Spicer, Finzi Singers
Title: Worldes Joie / Long Long Ago
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Chandos
Release Date: 7/26/1994
Genres: Folk, Pop, Classical
Styles: Vocal Pop, Opera & Classical Vocal
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 095115913925

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CD Reviews

Magical English choral music
K. Farrington | Missegre, France | 03/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When you play this record of splendid choral music through you have to regret the fact that Chandos did not use this fresh voiced ensemble (or another group of this calibre) on the Bax CD : 'Enchanted Summer', 'Walsinghame' and 'Fatherland'. Maybe they thought that you needed more than 20 singers to overcome the orchestral tutti. Anyway, this group perform magnificently with these fiendishly difficult works that really put them through their paces. Although both composers here are 'sensitive souls' and contemporaries, they were totally different in terms of sources of inspiration and musical teleology. Bax was not into devotional work as such but his 'Mater Ora Filium', a setting of a mediaeval carol is inspiring both musically and emotionally. This notoriously difficult work is tackled with aplomb with the polyphonic writing emerging as a supreme example of English choral music. This is about as good as this genre gets. Bax's 'This Worldes Joie', a setting of a early fourteenth century poem is a lament with the winter bringing a realisation to the poet of the ultimate death of everything, even the world's joy. Bax is brilliant in the way he portrays the wintery world weary reflective soul, which he would tackle again three years hence in a more personified form, in his setting of Sir Walter Raleigh's 'Walsinghame'. The Howells writing dovetails beautifully with the Bax and the idea to inerweave the composers was an inspired one. It seems a seamless collection which shows Howells adoration of the Tudor choral tradition of Tallis, Taverner et al. The 'Two Madrigals' are an explicit form of this worship but 'Take him, Earth for Cherishing' is among this composer's best works and the Finzi Singers directed by Paul Spicer reveal how much beauty lies within Howells' choral writing with their fresh sound. 'Long, long ago searches for harmonic peace and at one time a discordant cadence is pursued until we arrive at the place we wanted but with certain tonal mysterious questions unanswered. Bax's 'Five Greek Songs' and 'I sing of a Maiden that is makeless' are both equally fine and show that he was as assured in this medium as his CD companion. The second of these pieces has harmonies that recall Delius in his 'Appalachia' and 'Sea Drift'.Howells' 'The Summer is Coming' is my personal favorite on this CD and was written by Howells in memory of Bax in 1965. Bryan Guiness's moving words look forward to the coming summer but reflect on the sky 'sad for the wild geese gone'. Howells' writing makes you think of the late dedicatee and this work somehow seems the cross-fertilization of the two composers on this CD and how excellent the idea of putting them together like this was. This is an excellent hours worth of top grade English choral music that must be recommended!"