Extreme Simplicity and Extreme Complexity
The Final Episode of Obsessive Choral with Nico Muhly
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Today, Benjamin Britten and other 20th Century luminaries. Is there anything better than his Te Deum in C? If you can make it through "...whom that hast redeemed with thy precious blood" without losing your mind, you are more dignified than I.
The complicated, Purcellian verse anthem-cum-cantata Rejoice in the Lamb has the best dotted rhythm in the Alleluia. Then, two miniatures: a Ralph Vaughan Williams coronation nibblet, an Elizabeth Poston gesture, some complexity from Michael Tippett, a long scale from Pärt, who contributes a severe bass drum and tam-tam, and finally, Britten's iconic, gorgeous, untouchably beautiful Hymn to the Virgin.
If I could bottle my excitement when I was given the semichoir part in this piece at the age of 11, I could sell it all up and down Soho.