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Lancaster, Philip: Into the Tomb (PRINTED VERSION)


SATB unaccompanied (with divisions)

Part of the longer hymn Pange lingua by Venantius Fortunatus (c.540-c.600), the Crux fidelis features in the Adoration of the Cross during the solemn liturgical actions of Good Friday, and at Lauds during Passiontide. The reverence and awe of the words resonate in the poised strophes and silences of Ronald Corp’s new setting for SATB, a memorable addition to the repertoire of music for times of penitence, and to the surprisingly small corpus of interpretations, including those by Lennox Berkeley, Adrian Willaert, John Dunstable, and King John IV of Portugal (attributed), of this text in particular.

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‘Few motets begin with the direction “Very slow, crotchet=38”. One that does so is Philip Lancaster’s Into the Tomb […]. The 36 measures take more than three minutes to sing, and there is an aching desolation about the dissonant harmonies. The central section, marked “Solemn Processional”, is centred around C minor/F minor, but the beginning and end [of the piece] make their way to and from the note E, producing a nice tonal balance. This piece would make an effective contribution to any Holy Week concert, since the composer has captured the mood of the text so well. […]’

Jeremy Jackman, Choir & Organ Magazine, April 2020.

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