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Lennox Berkeley

Publisher: Chester Music

Hymn for Shakespeare's Birthday (1972), 83 no.2
Commissioned by Sam Wanamaker of the Globe Theatre Trust
Text Writer
Cecil Day Lewis
Chester Music Ltd
Chorus a cappella / + 1 instrument
Year Composed
2 Minutes
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Programme Note
Lennox Berkeley Hymn for Shakespeare's Birthday (1972), 83 no.2
Hymn for Shakespeare’s Birthday
Opus 82/2
This anthem was commissioned by Sam Wanamaker of the Globe Theatre Trust and first performed at Southwark Cathedral by the Exultate Singers under Garrett O’Brien on 23 April 1972. In spite of Berkeley’s adherence to Roman Catholic traditions the hymn is close to Anglican patterns and shows Berkeley’s return to diatonic materials after a more exploratory approach in the 1960s. There is even a melodic blue note, or false relation, also found in some
of Berkeley’s earlier music as well as later pieces such as the sixth Prelude and a prominent motif in Nelson. The Irish-born C. Day-Lewis (1904-72) was poet laureate from 1968 until his death.
Peter Dickinson

  • Ensemble
    Music Sales Singers
    David Hill and Daniel Hyde
    Choral Sampler 2012:
It illustrates Berkeley's return to fairly diatonic material after the experimental sixties. Warmly approachable, it is not too challenging, though the unaccompanied central section may need some concentration by the lower voices ready for the return of the organ in bar 37.
David Dewar, Organists' Review,01/12/2012
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