JUDITH WEIR (b.1954): Psalm 148, My Guardian Angel, Vertue, Ascending into heaven, little tree, a blue true dream of sky, Madrigal, 2 Human Hymns, Illuminare, Jerusalem, Drop down, ye heavens, from above, Love Bade Me Welcome, For Organ: Ettrick Banks, Wild Mossy Mountains.
Catalogue Number: 03N085
Description: Weir's choral music is tonal, ranging from straightforwardly diatonic and melodic writing, for example in the Human Hymns or the little tree pieces, with their unconventional marimba accompaniment, to more intricate polyphonic textures in the Psalm, Illuminare or the George Herbert settings in Vertue. A meticulous concern with speech rhythms and word setting, for the maximum clarity and intelligibility of the text, is evident throughout. Mediæval church music is alluded to here and there, with the clear textures of organum and melodies derived from plainchant. Organ accompaniments, where present, bear the distinct imprint of Messiaen, and this is more evident in the two solo organ pieces. Weir avoids unconventional vocal techniques, aside from some word-painting glissandi in Ascending, with its very Messiaenic organ part. Very approachable, with striking originality in the use of choral textures to emphasize meaning and underline subtleties in the texts. Matthew Fletcher, Annie Lydford (organ), Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge; Geoffrey Webber.