Time and its Passing


Tallis, Byrd, Victoria, Bach, Parry, Kodaly, Part & Howells

The Rodolfus Choir return to disc on Signum with a stunning new collection of choral works drawn from composers spanning over 500 years. Ralph Allwood MBE introduces the programme and the personal inspiration behind it:

The concept of time is so rich that it has inspired a large body of writing and musical setting. This collection is a tribute to my father, because I learnt so much about time from him. Mathematician and philosopher, theologian, musician and physicist, he was fascinated by our perception of time, and he and I had many discussions about its nature. In a trivial sense, music traces the passage of time, but also, as with all events, manipulates it. A watch traces a different pattern of time during events. But who is to say that the watch is ‘right’.

What people are saying

"Provocative, eye-meeting loveliness on this record from Ralph Allwood’s Rodolfus Choir." Gramophone, November 2015

"A rewarding sequence…a good recording as well;" BBC Radio 3 CD Review, December 2015

“5* if you want to hear young voices singing at their very best, with each line perfectly balanced, then this CD is a must” Choir & Organ, March 2016

Rodolfus Choir

Ralph Allwood Conductor

Release date:20th Nov 2015
Order code:SIGCD445
Barcode: 635212044520

 There’s a moment of provocative, eye-meeting loveliness on this recording from Ralph Allwood’s Rodolfus Choir that singlehandedly makes the case against the increasing digital fragmentation of our listening – cherry-picking a track here, a track there. Tallis’s exquisite hymn Thou wast, O God (best known as the theme for Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis) concludes in sober homophony – low, intimate, inward. Barely has its final chord finished before the brilliance of Gabriel Jackson’s To Morning bursts into the ears, giddy with radiance, ecstatic as Blake’s text. It’s artful programming that hits its emotional mark with artless directness.

Six hundred years of choral music from across Europe – works by Victoria, Tallis and Bach to Jackson, Kodály and Tavener – is united here by ideas of time. The inevitability of death and the fragility of life (Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’ sits centrally, in a contemporary setting by Thomas Recknell) jostle with music’s own temporal power for top billing, and if some works strive harder than others to fit under Allwood’s thematic umbrella, it’s all in a good cause.
The fresh, unforced quality of these young singers brings a pleasant friction to grave-facing works like Gibbons’s What is our life? and Howells’s Even such is time, and comes into its own in the soft-focus sentimentality of Parry’s Music, when soft voices die. Rooted in a warmly present bass section, the choral blend is always thoughtfully calibrated, and the Tallis Thou wast is a marked improvement on the choir’s previous recording – distilled down to a more focused tone and intensity.

Gramophone – Alexandra Coghlan

  1. O, Do Not Move – John Tavener – 1.52
  2. Thou Wast, O God, and Thou Wast Blest – Thomas Tallis – 3.21
  3. To Morning – Gabriel Jackson – 2.27
  4. The Three Ravens – Traditional, arr. Edward Chapman – 5.25
  5. Nunc dimittis – Arvo Part – 6.05
  6. Haste On, My Joys! – Gerald Finzi – 1.59
  7. Esti dal (Evening Song) – Zoltan Kodaly – 3.10
  8. …Which Was The Son Of… – Arvo Part – 7.40
  9. Diliges Dominum – William Byrd – 3.30
  10. What Is Our Life? – Orlando Gibbons – 4.10
  11. Ozymandias – Thomas Recknell – 5.53
  12. These Hours – Adrian Cruft – 2.29
  13. A Prayer of King Henry VI – Henry Ley – 1.52
  14. Even Such is Time – Herbert Howells – 5.51
  15. The Evening Watch – Benjamin Rowarth – 5.36
  16. Miserere nostri – Thomas Tallis – 2.59
  17. Music, When Soft Voices Die – C. Hubert H. Parry – 2.15
  18. Lux aeterna from Requiem a6 – Tomas Luis de Victoria – 3.55
  19. Et incarnatus est from B Minor Mass – Johann Sebatian Bach – 3.11
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