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<<  -- 2 --  Shirley Ratcliffe    JOURNEYING INTO SPACE


Two of the pieces were commissioned by The Ionian Singers: Cashian's slow building, atmospheric Music for an empty sky and Jackson's Lux mortuorum which, in spite of some lush sounding chords conveys, along with the Cashian a feeling of the heavens -- a journey into space.

Written in 1990, Casken's deep and complex The land of spices, set to George Herbert's poem Prayer is very testing for this amateur group but a good performance is given of what is described as an 'expression of prayer'. Salter's four settings of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins are well contrasted and descriptive conveying 'the poet's excited response to the natural world...' Stephen Oliver's interesting motet O fons amoris divides into three continuous parts showing by stages ecstatic writing, a feeling of neo-classicism and a fervent climax. Both Matthews' and Skempton's short pieces are pleasant enough light-weight works, but for me the three most absorbing pieces on the disc are by Simon Bainbridge, Douglas Young and Elizabeth Lutyens.

Bainbridge uses an autumnal text by Rilke for Herbsttag. Set for two antiphonal choirs, it is slow moving, sustained and of sombre mood. This is a very difficult piece to pull-off over its 8 minutes and 45 seconds. The singers manage admirably. The gradual build-up of sound and texture produces some interesting sonorities [listen -- track 7, 0:01-1:04].

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Copyright © 1 September 2001 Shirley Ratcliffe, Norfolk, UK






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