Fair Albion: Visions of England

£12.00

In recent years, Patrick Hawes has emerged as one of the country’s most popular and inspirational composers. Born in Lincolnhire, he studied music as an organ scholar at Durham University, and soon went on to make an impact in the world of choral music. April 2009 saw the release of Patrick’s latest album Song of Songs which was made CD of the week on Classic FM.

 

Elin Manahan Thomas Julian Lloyd Webber
SKU: SIGCD178

What people are saying

“Patrick Hawes has carved out a niche as a contemporary composer who writes melodic, atmospheric and, frankly, beautiful music”

The Gramophone *****

   

“Hawes’s admirers will find much here to confirm their warm response to his music’s quiet strength and individuality”

Classic FM Magazine

       

“… the continuing rise of Patrick Hawes is one of the most remarkable stories of recent years … Hawes conjures up vivid images of the English countryside by drawing upon its indigenous literary, poetic and religious traditions.”

The Gramophone

Elin Manahan Thomas
Julian Lloyd Webber

Release date:9th Nov 2009
Order code:SIGCD178
Barcode: 635212017821

The Gramophone
***** (5 of 5)

Patrick Hawes has carved out a niche as a contemporary composer who writes melodic, atmospheric and, frankly, beautiful music. During his period as Composer in Residence at Classic FM he attracted a large following, a following that ensured remarkable sales for his 2007 album “Towards the Light”. Earlier this year, “Song of Songs” was released, again to great acclaim and considerable air-time on Classic FM. It also featured for the first time the soprano voice of Elin Manahan Thomas in Hawes’s music – a match made in heaven which is repeated on this new album, “Visions of England”. Hawes has written of this new collection of his music for a variety of different ensembles and instrumentalists that “The inspiration for my music stems from three essential areas – my Creator, my loved ones, and my country.”

The Independent

Patrick Hawes is rather like the Piers Gough of British classical composers, firmly adhering to the tried and trusted values of an earlier era, notably the Anglican church and English landscape celebrated in these 15 pieces. Not that he’s devoid of surprise: the soprano vocal of "Cantate Domino" is set to organ and baritone sax, a curious but effective contrast, while the sawing strings of The Raven Quartet on "Ascension" have just a hint of minimalism about them. But the sun-dappled contentment of his "Three Broadland Piano Preludes" and the tender, bosky pastoralism of "Fair Albion" itself are much more indicative of his leanings.

Classic FM Magazine, January 2010

Hawes’s admirers will find much here to confirm their warm response to his music’s quiet strength and individuality. A minor problem is the collection of so many short items which, heard through on a single CD, can’t help sounding more similar than they are. Among the best are The Call – a setting of George Herbert for soprano and string quartet, cannily conjuring the sound of an Elizabethan viol consort – and the atmospheric After the Rain for string quartet and piano. The excellent performances feature the tawny loveliness of Julian Lloyd Webber’s cello-playing, plus two fine solo singers.

The Gramophone, March 2010

A collection of new works from Patrick Hawes that are poignant and heartfelt

Adopted favourite of Classic FM, the continuing rise of Patrick Hawes is one of the most remarkable stories of recent years. Yet from the evidence on this disc, it is easy to understand why. Whether espousing a form of mind-numbingly nostalgic neo-conservatism or breathing old life into new music, it is difficult to ignore the fact that Hawes has hit upon a powerful and persuasive musical formula.

“Fair Albion” is a recording of benign simplicity and unadorned directness. Employing a wide range of forces – solo voice, harp, cello, piano, string quartet, chamber orchestra and choir – Hawes conjures up vivid images of the English countryside by drawing upon its indigenous literary, poetic and religious traditions. The Latin settings come closest to evoking a “generic” English choral sound, however, with the Requiem Aeternam and Cantate Domino in particular suggesting Rutter. But a more personal and occasionally poignant idiom is communicated in the solo and chamber works. Elin Manahan Thomas’s lyric soprano voice provides the idea vehicle for Hawes’s neo-Baroque setting of George Herbert’s The Call. Reflexionem for cello and harp is given a similarly uplifting treatment by Julian Lloyd Webber, solidly supported throughout by Claire Jones. Her lithe rendition of How Hill provides one of the highlights of the disc, though both Thomas and Jones are less convincing in the Rossetti setting “A Birthday”, where intonation problems in the harp’s upper register are surprisingly allowed to go unnoticed. Whether there’s more to Hawes’s neo-pastoral programmatic music than meets the eye remains to be seen; but the highly evocative Quanta qualia, which closes the disc, communicates a heartfelt honesty that speaks for itself.

Pwyll ap Siôn

  1. The Call – –
  2. Reflexionem – –
  3. Ascension – –
  4. Fair Albion – –
  5. A Birthday – –
  6. Three Broadland Piano Preludes – Ranworth – –
  7. – Fenside – –
  8. – Remembrance – –
  9. Requiem Aeternam: from the Lazarus Requiem – –
  10. Gloriette – –
  11. How Hill – –
  12. Cantate Domino – –
  13. After the Rain – –
  14. The Darkling Thrush – –
  15. Quanta Qualia – –