Music By Robert Hugill
CD Now available, Click Here for details The CD of Passion and the vocal score are both now available from www.tutti.co.uk. (Simply type HUGILL into the Quick Search box). Scores of further pieces will be soon be available through www.tutti.co.uk.
You can also buy the recording On-Line direct from crotchet
As I am, as yet, only distributing the CD on the internet, you probably will not find it in your record shop. CD's are available direct from me, cost £10.00 (post free in the UK). Simply E-mail me and I'll send you an order form.
The Passion is distributed to a number of Internet record companies by The Orchard where I have a listing. Click Here.
Read the review at Classical Music on the Web
This is noticeably in the English cathedral tradition but is marked out by a luxuriance of tone not naturally associated with male voices. Robert Hugill's interpretation of the Passion is counterpointed by the poetry of Carl Cook. The richness of tone is remarkable given that the ensemble comprises only four voices: a counter-tenor, two tenors and a bass. All the voices are impressive but I especially mark out Rupert Damerell's counter-tenor (Jesus) which consistently reaps emotional shivers of pleasure (try track 2). Clarity of diction is clearly important to the singers and the composer. However this is achieved inside a lively and reverberant sound-envelope. The reverberation could easily have clouded the words but this problem is skilfully avoided. As for parallels: think in terms of Britten (St Cecilia Hymn and Serenade), Burgon (his choral music) and factor in an element of the emotional affluence of Herbert Howells. Another work came to mind as well although this work is not at all well known. It is Christopher Brown's Hodie Salvator Apparuit - well worth your attention. Hugill's work breathes sincerity. There is some fairly four-square recitative which conveys a functionally devotional approach. Just when you begin wondering whether things are turning conventional Damerell's singing transforms the scene (track 6). ... I trust that we will hear more of this ensemble. As for Rupert Damerell I shall hope to see his name appearing in its own right - certainly a hot prospect in the rising generation. A disc recommendable for those following the British a cappella choral tradition and with a readiness still to be 'surprised by joy'.
Rob Barnett , Classical Music on the Web
A Review of the original performances from "Musical Opinion" by the critic, Robert Matthew-Walker
The young British composer Robert Hugill's setting of the Passion - a text he compiled from St. John's gospel, interspersed with poems by Carl Cook from The Tranquil Lake of Love - has turned out to be one of the most original realisations of this subject for some time. In the first place, it is scored only for four solo voices, namely the fine early music group The Burgundian Cadence, and because the singers themselves - Rupert Damerell, counter-tenor, Simon Biazeck, tenor, Matthew Woolhouse, tenor and Damian O'Keeffe, baritone - are specialists in early music performance, there is a timeless element in the modern setting which relates perfectly to the timeless quality of the passion story itself.
Hugill's Passion was given no fewer than seven performances in March, on tour, in venues as varied as the BMIC (the premiere, on the 9th), two London churches - St. Mary Abbots Kensington and St. James's Piccadilly, Westminster Abbey, Southwark Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral, and was revealed as a deeply-felt and often moving setting, sometimes using aspects of the passion story which other composers have omitted. The performances were surely exemplary, and one must applaud both the composer and his singers for holding our attention throughout a work of around 45 minutes' duration. Despite the use of organum, modes and what one might call a latter-day plainsong on occasion, Hugill does not fall into the easy trap of formulae-setting: his Evangelist is occasionally more than one singer, and his contrast of solo line with accompanied vocal writing is never less than wholly suitable for his singers, whom he treats with deep musical sympathy. Jesus is always an accompanied counter-tenor, and the poetical settings are usually four-part chorale-like meditations, and if on occasion one felt that the text itself might have been tightened up, to move the story on, there is no doubt that the result reveals Hugill's Passion to be a composition of some quality which any self-respecting church choir might well wish to investigate ? it is published by Bardic Edition. The work need four good singers, of course, but they are nowhere put to any strain, and Hugill's practical writing ensures they have ample rest and interesting parts to sing. An often beautiful and fascinating work. Robert Matthew-Walker, Musical Opinion
Passion is a setting of the passion story from St. John's Gospel, with 6 interpolated poems. It is set for a 4-man a cappella vocal ensemble, (Alto, Tenor, Tenor, Bass).
Passion is being written for The Burgundian Cadence and so is designed for their forces. This means that the entire passion story is encompassed by four unaccompanied voices. Also, the work cannot be to long, so it will last about 40 minutes.
Why write a passion at all
The story of Christ's passion is one of the most influential and resonant in Western Culture. It has influenced Christian's and non-Christian's alike for 2000 years. Within the story can be found echoes of many other stories and myths from our culture. My desire was to reflect the resonance of the passion story and to examine the dichotomy between past and present. This is done in two ways.
First, the text, based on St. John's Gospel, is interspersed by contemporary poems which provide a
modern reflection of and mediation on the main, ages old, narrative.
Secondy, by using the forces of The Burgundian Cadence and fitting Passion programmes alongside their existing repertoire we hope to examine how traditional forces can be used in contemporary pieces. Their performance of Passion will inevitably contain echoes of other earlier pieces from their repertoire. And by programming these pieces alongside Passion, the different aspects of the pieces will interact.
For more information, please Email Robert Hugill
To Coincide with these performances, the vocal score of Passion was published by Bardic Edition
Examples of the Music
Here are two sample tracks from the Passion
Or you can see some sample pages of the music
Passion was toured in March 1999, the dates were as follows:-
|Tuesday||March 9th 1999|
Stratford Place, London
|Full Evening programme||World Premiere|
|Thursday||March 11th 1999|
Kensington High Street, London
|Full Evening programme|
|Friday||March 12th 1999|
|Sunday||March 21st 1999|
|5.45pm, before Evensong|
|Tuesday||March 23rd 1999|
|Friday||March 26th 1999||Lunchtime Recital|
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