The University of Cambridge laid down strict guidelines for the Doctor of Music examination and these were carefully followed by Vaughan Williams. The choral work had to be between forty and sixty minutes long, contain some portion for one or more solo voices and some considerable part for a double chorus. It had to show some examples of canon and fugue, contain an instrumental overture or interlude in 'first movement form' and have an accompaniment for 'a full band'. As the earliest Vaughan Williams work to be written on a large-scale, the work shows the extra confidence that Cambridge University had given him. Far from being academic in tone, it is full of personality, energy and good tunes. It shows, four years before he began writing A Sea Symphony
, that he could compose on a grand scale and, as such, it has the hallmarks of the great composer who was to emerge. There is much bold writing for brass and a vivid theatricality which at times reminds us that Vaughan Williams was impressed with Verdi's Requiem
. There are influences from other composers, most notably Schubert, Brahms and Dvořék – influences which can also be heard in the contemporaneous Serenade in A minor
– but the overall impression is of youthful zest, enthusiasm and an ambitious scope.
The work is in three main movements, broken down into nine sections.
A Cambridge Mass Release Date: 02 Oct, 2014.
£9.99 plus postage and packing.
CDs can also be ordered by contacting Mark Hammett
by post to:
27 Landsdowne Way
Bexhill on Sea