Friday, June 27, 2014

Song of the Week

Benjamin Britten/Hymn to St Cecilia

          Exquisitely beautiful, this piece (not exactly a "song") is choral music as only Benjamin Britten could write it, with one foot in the Middle Ages and another in the Twentieth Century.  The interplay between male and treble voices creates a sense of tension and contrast that pervades the entire piece, augmented by the quirky dissonances that lend this basically tonal work a somewhat uneasy quality.  From the lilting, swelling sea-story of movement I, to the second movement's frantic canon, to the oratorio-like give-and-take of the third, Hymn to St. Cecilia is a perfect masterpiece of choral composition.

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