O Gladsome Light: Sacred Songs, Hymns & Meditation
Label: STONE RECORDS
Hamm, Keith; Philcox, Steven; Bérard, Marie; Wiliford, Lawrence
In collaboration with world-class musicians – pianist Steven Philcox, violinist Marie Bérard, and violist Keith Hamm – tenor Lawrence Wiliford brings his acclaimed interpretive skill in song to music of early 20th century England that is beautiful, humble, and intimate. This survey of sacred songs and hymns by Gustav Holst, his pupil Edmund Rubbra, and his lifelong friend and colleague Ralph Vaughan Williams, visits the melodic and sacred themes that are common among the three composers. It devotes particular attention to Rubbra’s songs, which are less well known than many by his two senior colleagues. Edmund Rubbra’s writing draws from the modal harmonies of early sacred music and Celtic folk traditions. In addition to several songs by Rubbra, O Gladsome Light also includes Variations on a Phrygian Theme for solo violin and Meditations on a Byzantine Hymn for solo viola, two works that highlight the composers’ lyrical, modal style and feature the soloists Marie Bérard and Keith Hamm. Paired with Rubbra are the Holst Four Songs for voice and violin and the Vaughan Williams Four Hymns for tenor, viola and piano producing a meditative and musically satisfying program of sacred music that can be listened to during Christmas, Lent and throughout the year.