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Wood was fastidious and usually more orthodox in his choice of words. Here he sets psalm verses; translations from the Latin and Greek; two poems of Thomas Campion, which rhyme happily enough despite his disparagement of 'the childish tittillation of riming'; a simple poem mainly about sheep by Richard Baxter, who was 'too puritan for the Bishops and too episcopalian for the presbyterians', upbraiding Cromwell for taking supreme power, but becoming briefly a chaplain to Charles II; the final work on the disc is a translation by J M Neale of words by Theodulph of Orleans, who was brought to France by Charlemagne but spent most of his days in prison. Legend has it that he sang from his window to the passing emperor the Latin original of Neale's Glory and honour, and laud be to Thee, set unaccompanied but with grand affirmation by Wood. Better known, of course, are the words 'All glory, laud, and honour', adapted by Neale for Hymns Ancient and Modern. The only New Testament words Wood chose are Luke's account of the prodigal son. I will arise, and go has the steady onward tread that informs much of Wood's music but is particularly apt for the penniless young man determined to lay aside his sins [listen -- track 3, 0:00-1:08].

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Copyright © 12 February 2003 Robert Anderson, London, UK


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