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<<  -- 2 --  Patric Standford    Reflective modality


The Mystery, a setting of a poem by Ralph Hodgson, is Rubbra at his most simple, unaccompanied, the poignant economy of a young master [listen -- track 15, 0:02-0:53]. Its companion, Rosa Mundi, written a year before that in 1921, has only two violins to clothe it, like looking through a dawn mist at a remembered Tudor landscape [listen -- track 16, 0:00-0:51]. The disc's title is taken from a 1925 setting of a traditional Gaelic poem, either side of which are placed Orpheus with his Lute (1923) and A Duan of Barra, a poem by Murdoch Maclean which Rubbra set in 1928 a little like a folksong, with a gentle flowing ostinato accompaniment [listen -- track 24, 0:00-0:53].

Rubbra's modality was from a more learned past, for he had less interest in folksong than did his mentors. 20 years on, after the birth of five symphonies, the lines had become more taught. The recital includes Three Psalms (1946) written for Kathleen Ferrier, which includes perhaps the most radiant setting of 'The Lord is my shepherd', and Two Sonnets of William Alabaster, substantial Catholic meditations written in 1955, some seven years after his Roman Catholic conversion. For these settings Rubbra adds the dark tone of the viola, a potent blend with the clear countertenor [listen -- track 5, 0:04-0:56].

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Copyright © 2 September 2001 Patric Standford, West Yorkshire, UK






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