ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): The Beatitudes (Heather Harper [soprano], Gerald English [tenor], Goldsmiths Choral Union, Royal Choral Society, Wembley Philharmonic Society, BBC Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Arthur Bliss. broadcast Aug 31, 1964), The Enchantress (Pamela Bowden [contralto], BBC SO; Rudolf Schwarz. broadcast April 21, 1957), Rout and Madame Noy (Jennifer Vyvyan [soprano], Wigmore Ensemble. broadcast March 31, 1958).
Catalogue Number: 08R052
Description: The Beatitudes is a 49-minute cantata which was commissioned for the same event at Coventry Cathedral as Britten's War Requiem but which was moved to the cramped confines of Coventry Theatre, from where the BBC broadcast a performance recently offered on Dutton. Christ's words are interleaved with poems by three 17th-century metaphysical poets and by Dylan Thomas' recently written "And Death Shall Have No Dominion" in music ranging from sweetly supplicatory to fiercely aggressive. This performance of two and a half years later has much better sound. The other significant work is The Enchantress, written for Kathleen Ferrier in 1951, a 17-minute setting of Theocritus’ Idyll II in which a jilted woman uses magic to get back her lover; this is a dramatic scena on the order of Britten’s Phaedra. Texts included.