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Edmund Rubbra (1901–1986)

Edmund RubbraThe choral works of Edmund Rubbra available in the Stainer & Bell catalogue complement the cycles of symphonies, string quartets and Masses for which he is widely recognised as a leading 20th-century British composer.

Fresh and appealing repertoire for singers, the Five Motets, Five Madrigals and Amoretti were the fruit of his lifelong interest in Elizabethan and Jacobean music and poetry. A Catholic convert, he drew on the mystical tradition of his faith for The Dark Night of the Soul for SATB chorus and orchestra. A setting of words by St John of the Cross, its subject of Christ-as lover is powerfully conveyed in an atmosphere of darkly brooding chromaticism reminiscent of Shostakovich. In contrast, the song ‘In Dark Weather’ is a quietist vision of nature in a folk-like, impressionistic idiom. For the Introduction and Fugue for solo piano the composer combined his talents as a concert pianist and gifted contrapuntist, while Psalm 122 is another fine example of his command of polyphonic writing for unaccompanied choir.

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