JUDITH BINGHAM (b.1952): Gleams of a Remoter World, The Shepheardes Calender, Water Lilies, Irish Tenebrae, Unpredictable but Providential, Beneath these Alien Stars, Ghost Towns of the American West.
Catalogue Number: 03K104
Description: A singer-composer, Bingham brings her own intimate knowledge of the possibilities offered by vocal ensembles (especially the astonishing BBC Singers, of which she was formerly a member) to her large and varied output of choral music. Within a basically tonal vocabulary - one is reminded of Britten, or Bingham's teacher Alan Bush - she writes flexible and inventive, ingenious and unexpected counterpoint, often subdividing the choral group (spatially in several pieces on this recording, to subtle, undemonstrative but telling effect) or incorporating a tapestry of individual solo parts to enrich the texture. The most obvious and striking result of this craftsmanship is the exquisite word-painting, no mean accomplishment given the diversity of her texts (including Spenser, Yeats, folksongs and the Mormon poet Vesta Pierce Crawford, as well as one of her own). The contrasts and emotional resonances in the large cycle Irish Tenebrae (inventively accompanied by organ, violin and percussion), with its subtext of the Irish "Troubles" are quite remarkable, and the evocation of the vast, alien western American desert landscape in the Crawford settings is eerily palpable. Richard Benjafield, Chris Brannick (percussion), Iain Farrington (chamber organ), Krysia Osostowicz (violin - all in Irish Tenebrae), BBC Singers; David Hill.