Thomas Aquinas writes in the Summa Theologica : "Music is the exaltation of the mind derived from things eternal, bursting forth in sound. Throughout its existence the chamber choir Schola Cantorum has had high ambitions. The choir has built up an international reputation and has made it a trademark to include newly written music in its programmes.
I am quite a fan of the music of Benjamin Britten, whether the early works such as the rumbustious Sinfonietta or the playful Frank Bridge Variationsthe middle masterpieces like Peter Grimes or the War Requiemor the austere final works such as Death in Venice or Phaedra. I had thought until recently that my favourite works of his were the wonderfully inventive Nocturne for tenor, strings and obbligato instruments or the paired-down genius of the church parable Curlew Riverbut I have recently been reassessing my judgement and decided that my favourite work is one of the earliest — A Hymn to the Virgin. It is, however, undoubtedly not a work of juvenilia but rather one of the most subtle, mature and succinct works Britten would ever compose, and certainly one of his most successful sacred pieces. In writing this blog entry I picked three random books on Britten to see what was written on the Hymn to the Virginand was shocked to discover that it was hardly featured in any of them.
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A lyrical melody and effective refrain sung by a semi-chorus combine to considerable dramatic and emotional effect. It is remarkable that so accomplished a piece was written when the composer was only 16, and suffering illness. That entry dates from the 9 July
Even on a cold, snowy night he can draw a crowd. Nicola Lisle, Oxford Times, February 20 12 :. This is an inspiring work.
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MPhil R thesis, University of Glasgow. The Hymn to the Virgin is a poem attributed to the Welsh poet Ieuan ap Hywel Swrdwal, thought to have been written around while he was a student at the University of Oxford. It is reputedly the first poem ever written in English by a Welshman Stephens
Benjamin Britten was perhaps the greatest English composer of the 20th century. His most important contribution to English music was a revival of interest in native operas, which his works still dominate. However, his output ran the full gamut of mediums, including numerous song cycles, choral and instrumental works, and innovative music for amateurs and children.