About the composer
Lennox Berkeley was born in an aristocratic family in Oxford in 1903. He studied foreign languages in Oxford. During his time there he was introduced to Maurice Ravel, who looked at some of Berkeley’s early compositions and encouraged him to study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger.
In 1929 Berkeley was received into the Roman Catholic Church. During the 1930s he wrote two sacred works: the oratorio Jonah and the psalm setting Domini est terra. It was not until the mid 1940s that Berkeley turned to religious music for liturgical use; thereafter he produced a steady stream of shorter anthems, motets and two settings for the mass. Later, he wrote: Being a Roman Catholic I have naturally been drawn to the Latin Liturgy and felt at home with it; it is a part of my life and I wanted to bring to it what I have to offer…
About the Stabat Mater
Six voices and chamber ensemble
Until now Berkeley's Stabat Mater was on Hans' list of Missing CD's. From the CD booklet: It was Britten who requested a new work for the English Opera group to take on their 1948 European tour of The rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring, a tour that also included a number of concert performances. The resulting vocal and instrumental forces that Berkeley employed (six solo voices and twelve instrumentalists) whilst clearly tailor made for the occasion, has contributed to the works unjustified neglect. Berkeley conducted the premiere at the Zürich Tonhalle in August 1948, Britten conducted the UK premiere in London as well as a performance for a live BBC broadcast over a month later, but after a performance at the Aldeburgh festival in 1953, the Stabat Mater remained unheard and was never recorded on CD. The ten movements are a mixture of solo aria's, duets, and quartets accompagnied by wind quintet (clarinet, doubling bass clarinet), harp percussion (timpani, suspended cymbal, tenor drum and bass drum) string quartet and double bass.
The "Vatican"-version of the text has been used. Berkeley breaks up the text into ten movements of two stanza's.
Information about the recording
|DCD344180 Lennox Berkeley
Both Henry Howard and Hugh Pyper were so kind to contact me about this Berkeley Stabat Mater recording by Delphian Records.
|The Marian Consort
Clara Lloyd-Griffith, soprano I
Lennox Berkeley, Mass for five voices for a capella choir