Lauds

(1987)

by Jonathan Harvey

Description
SATB chorus and solo cello
Contributors
Taylor John V (Author)
Duration
13
Genres
Mixed Voices
Text
John V Taylor
Instrumentation
Languages
English
Commission
Commissioned by the 1987 Southern Cathedrals Festival
First Performance
23.7.87, Winchester: Winchester Cathedral Choir/Martin Neary
Availability

Score (fp) 0-571-55433-4 and cello part (fp) 0-571-55434-2 on sale

Programme Notes

The idea for Lauds came from the poet, Bishop John Taylor, with whom I have worked closely at Winchester Cathedral over the church opera Passion and Resurrection and on other projects. Lauds is the first in a cycle of eight anthems for choir and cello, representing roughly the communal and individual perspective, and later the organ will be used too. Bishop John writes: “The cycle is related to the eight choir offices of the earliest monastic rules of St Basil in the East and St Benedict in the West, but it is also related to the stages of a human lifetime. Each piece is framed, as it were, in quotations from the Psalms or Canticles that were allocated to the different offices.” Lauds is then concerned with the first office, before daybreak, and with birth and childhood, individually and ritualistically seen. At the opening the monastic bell is clearly suggested by the voices, summoning to Lauds and to birth. The music for the quotations is always in the same rather chant-like, objective style, as is heard, for instance, at the end of the first section. The second section is set entirely for trebles singing in canon, with cello accompaniment. The close canonic writing suggests at times the indistinctness of the misty half-light expressed in the text. In the third section the music becomes more subjective, as befits dawning adolescence, though it is still canonic. The baritone solo “and you, running knee-deep…” is the adult looking back at himself. The fourth section, after the initial quotation, forms the climactic peak of the work. Rapid runs in cello and voices suggest the ‘headlong odyssey’ and the message simultaneously darkens as innocence is lost in the soul of the growing child. Jonathan Harvey

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News & Reviews

'Lauds' reviews

'Harvey est bien le descendant de Benjamin Britten qui sut offrir à ces mêmes choeurs d'enfants des musiques exigentes et de haute qualité.' Read more

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