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Wind without mercy

Robert Hugill's 'Passion' -
reviewed by KEITH BRAMICH

'... a very distinctive soundworld ...'

Hugill: Passion. The Burgundian Cadence. © 2000 Robert Hugill

Passion by English composer Robert Hugill is an original combination of the old and the new. An early music ensemble (The Burgundian Cadence) of just four male voices sings music by a contemporary composer, words from The Gospel according to St John brush shoulders with poems written nearly two thousand years later (a selection from Carl Cook's The Tranquil Lake of Love), and plain recitative is set alongside more contemporary-sounding harmony.

'The story of Christ's passion is one of the most influential and resonant in Western Culture', writes Hugill. 'It has influenced Christians and non-Christians alike for two thousand years. Within the story can be found echoes of many other stories and myths from our culture. My desire was to reflect the resonance of the passion story and to examine the dichotomy between past and present.'

As well as interspersing very contrasting texts (along the lines of, for example, Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, or Tippett's A Child of our Time), Hugill also wanted to examine how traditional forces could be used in contemporary music, and how this music might interact with earlier music from the performers' repertoire.

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Copyright © 23 June 2004 Keith Bramich, Worcestershire UK


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