Casken - The Dream of the Rood | NMC Recordings NMCD245

Casken - The Dream of the Rood


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Label: NMC Recordings

Cat No: NMCD245

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 26th July 2019



Released to mark 70th birthday of acclaimed British composer John Casken, alongside an ongoing series of concert performances of a wide range of his work and premieres across the UK and abroad.

The Dream of the Rood won the British Composer Award (Vocal Category) in 2009 where judges said they were "immediately gripped by its gravitas and beautiful harmonic language", describing it as being a "powerful and emotional pieceĒ and "an epic work setting a striking text".

The Dream of the Rood sets texts chosen by the composer from the Anglo-Saxon poem of the same name which dramatically describes the story of the crucifixion in a highly original portrayal of Christís death coupled with Caskenís own arrangement of Pťrotinís Viderunt omnes, the earliest surviving vocal work of plainsong in four parts. In both arrangements, Casken introduces a large instrumental ensemble and masterfully enhances the medieval texts and music of the originals within a highly effective contemporary context. Alongside these are three pieces from the rare Conductus repertoire of the 12th/13th centuries which have been core to The Hilliard Ensemble's performing library.

Commissioned by Caskenís long-time collaborators, the multi award-winning Hilliard Ensemble, this release is among the last recordings they made.

Caskenís work is often inspired by literature and legend, landscape and painting and particularly by the Northumberland countryside where he lives. His compositions have won a Gramophone award, the first Britten Award for Composition, the Prince Pierre de Monaco Prize, a British Composer Award for Vocal Music, as well as shortlistings for both RPS and British Composer Awards.

This release marks the significant contribution to British music of one of its most notable vocal ensembles and one of its richest of composing voices, in work that is equally moving and dramatic.

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