Cover The Dream of the Rood

Album info



Label: NMC Recordings

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Vocal

Artist: The Hilliard Ensemble, Asko-Schönberg Ensemble & Clark Rundell

Composer: John Casken (1949), Perotinus (1160-1236)

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • 1Vetus abit littera03:30
  • 2Procurans odium02:10
  • 3Deus miseratus hominis05:54
  • 4Viderunt omnes (Arr. J. Casken)12:03
  • John Casken (b. 1949): The Dream of the Rood:
  • 5The Dream of the Rood: I. Procession I (The Dream)04:44
  • 6The Dream of the Rood: II. Motet of Angels00:34
  • 7The Dream of the Rood: III. Dream of Fear02:48
  • 8The Dream of the Rood: IV. Interlude I00:42
  • 9The Dream of the Rood: V. Procession II (The Torn Tree)01:57
  • 10The Dream of the Rood: VI. Interlude II00:35
  • 11The Dream of the Rood: VII. Dream of Revelation00:45
  • 12The Dream of the Rood: VIII. Motet of Sacrifice03:28
  • 13The Dream of the Rood: IX. Interlude III00:37
  • 14The Dream of the Rood: X. Motet of Shame01:34
  • 15The Dream of the Rood: XI. Interlude IV00:27
  • 16The Dream of the Rood: XII. Dream of Adornment01:53
  • 17The Dream of the Rood: XIII. Motet of the Rood03:17
  • 18The Dream of the Rood: XIV. Motet of Prayer01:01
  • 19The Dream of the Rood: XV. Procession III (The Faith)02:11
  • Total Runtime50:10

Info for The Dream of the Rood

Casken’s work is often inspired by literature and legend, landscape and painting and particularly by the Northumberland countryside where he lives. His compositions have won a Gramophone award, the First Britten Award for Composition, the Prince Pierre de Monaco Prize, a British Composer Award for Vocal Music, as well as shortlistings for both RPS and British Composer Awards.

The Dream of the Rood sets texts chosen by the composer from the Anglo-Saxon poem of the same name which dramatically describes the story of the crucifixion in a highly original portrayal of Christ’s death coupled with Casken’s own arrangement of Pérotin’s Viderunt omnes, the earliest surviving vocal work of plainsong in four parts. In both arrangements, Casken introduces a large instrumental ensemble and masterfully enhances the medieval texts and music of the originals within a highly effective contemporary context. Alongside these are three pieces from the rare Conductus repertoire of the 12th/13th centuries which have been core to The Hilliard Ensemble's performing library.

This release marks the significant contribution to British music of one of its most notable vocal ensembles and one of its richest of composing voices, in work that is equally moving and dramatic.

"Honouring Casken at 70, this is among the Hilliard’s last recordings, and aptly includes one of their “standards”, Pérotin’s Viderunt omnes, with its innovative four-part plainsong. Here it comes in Casken’s transcription, with modern ensemble." (Sunday Times)

The Hilliard Ensemble
Asko | Schönberg Ensemble
Clark Rundell, conductor

Hilliard Ensemble
The Hilliard Ensemble was a British male vocal quartet originally devoted to the performance of early music. The group was named after the Elizabethan miniaturist painter Nicholas Hilliard. Founded in 1974,[1] the group disbanded in 2014.[2] Although most of its work focused on music of the Medieval and Renaissance periods, the Hilliard Ensemble also performed contemporary music, working frequently with the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and included in its concerts works by John Cage, Gavin Bryars, Giya Kancheli, and Heinz Holliger.

Asko|Schönberg ensemble
The ensemble's highly qualified and motivated musicians perform works dating from the 20th and 21st centuries, from solos to larger-scale repertoire, both in concert settings and in interdisciplinary productions. Asko|Schönberg occupies an unassailable position in the arts through its enormous versatility, constant forward momentum and its ability to mirror topicality or even fly in the face of it. Collaboration between musicians and composers is a key element of its work. They examine musical and theatrical formats, techniques and possibilities through a dynamic working process that results in exciting discoveries, new insights and innovative methods of presentation. Asko|Schönberg, while respecting its 20th century heritage, is creating the repertoire of the future. The musicians are highly specialised in the performance of new music, thanks in part to their intensive collaboration with the composers.

The ensemble appears in a select number of concert halls both at home and abroad and is a regular guest at festivals in cities such as Cologne, Zagreb and Paris. In recent seasons, the ensemble has performed in South Africa, Melbourne, London, Paris, Los Angeles, New York and Jakarta.

Clark Rundell
is Director of Contemporary Music and Head of Conducting at the RNCM, and Artistic Director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's new music Group, Ensemble 10/10. He studied trombone and conducting at Northwestern University, Chicago, and was subsequently awarded a Junior Fellowship to study conducting with Timothy Reynish at the RNCM. He regularly conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he made his début in 1987, as well as the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Hallé and the Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom he recently performed at the Royal Albert Hall.

Deeply committed to the performance of new music, Clark has given world premières of works by composers including Louis Andriessen, Django Bates, David Bedford, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Gary Carpenter, Adam Gorb and and Mark-Anthony Turnage.

A highly versatile musician, Clark served for fourteen years as Director of Jazz Studies at the RNCM, and has performed with artists such as John Dankworth, Bob Brookmeyer, Cleo Laine and Andy Sheppard. As an arranger, he has worked with Louis Andriessen and Mark-Anthony Turnage.

Booklet for The Dream of the Rood

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