Howard Goodall's 'Invictus: A Passion' - premiere recording

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Now available is the premiere recording of Howard Goodall's new choral/orchestral work, Invictus: A Passion.

The 55-minute work launched in Houston and London earlier this year, a commission from long-time Goodall advocates, St Luke's United Methodist Church (Music Director, Sid Davis).

Invictus: A Passion has now been released on The Sixteen's Coro Connections label. Stephen Darlington conducts the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford with soloists from The Sixteen (Kirsty Hopkins and Mark Dobell) accompanied by The Lanyer Ensemble.

Invictus: A Passion explores in particular the role and perspective of women, and juxtaposes poems by various authors with the 1611 verse narrative of the biblical Passion by Æmelia Lanyer, one of the first books published in the English language by a female poet. The composer writes in detail about the work here.  And the complete vocal score can be viewed here.

And this short introductory video was filmed at the recording sessions:

For different purchasing options for the recording, please click here.The printed vocal score (0-571-53653-0) is also on sale (for North American orders click here), and it can also be hired along with the full score and orchestral parts.

'The combination of Goodall's lyrical style and his intriguing selection of texts make for a striking new Passion...

Goodall allows his music to be fluid and certainly does not feel constrained by his melodies, the work does not separate into a series of songs instead it creates a continuous lyrical narrative.

The instrumental ensemble uses two string quartets (used antiphonally rather than as a large ensemble) with double bass, two horns and piano, plus a solo saxophone which forms a sort of obbligato over the music. Goodall uses his unusual instrumental forces imaginatively, and textures are strikingly fluid and evocative, with Goodall moving between sparseness and full textures, always expressive and always fascinating; he certainly is not afraid of paring things down... Christian Forshaw's fine soprano saxophone line weaves its way expressively through the music, adding another layer to the mix.

The two soloists, Kirsty Hopkins and Mark Dobell, make a superb contribution, combining an expressively lyrical line with a feeling of passion and superb diction. And treble Daniel Kelly also contributes a fine solo. The choral part is substantial and moves between moments in their own right to supporting and commenting on the soloists. The choir of Christ Church Cathedral embrace Goodall's lyrical style with gusto and produce some fine moments.

This is bound to be a popular work with choirs... It is a work worthy of investigation and if you allow Goodall's style to seduce you, then ultimately rather moving.'
Planet Hugill (Robert Hugill), 31 August 2018