British Choral Works


Hear choral works by three contemporary English composers on this New Sounds program, all of which invite comparisons between spiritual and mystical realms and that of reality on Earth.  Listen to Tarik O’Regan’s “The Ecstasies Above,” a setting of Edgar Allen Poe’s lyric poem Israfel (after the angel “whose heart-strings are a lute, and who has the sweetest voice of all God’s creatures”), painting quite the vision of heaven versus that of the lowly human condition. Also, O’Regan’s work is unusually scored; for full chorus, string quartet, and 8 vocal soloists [two separate SATB quartets.]

Then, we’ll hear John Tavener’s "Mystic Prayer to the Holy Spirit," for chorus and 3 members of a string quartet. Sung in Greek, the work was inspired by a prayer of St. Symeon/Simeon, a Byzantine monk and one of the last of three saints canonized by the Eastern Orthodox church. (Symeon was a new theologian, and was said to speak from personal experience of the vision of God.) Plus, listen to Joby Talbot’s piece about the famous medieval pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, “Path of Miracles.”  The work is sectioned into the four major points of the route, which crosses Northern Spain to the town where St. James is thought to be buried.  Hear “Leon,” the third movement, that concentrates on the geographical and physical ordeals for the pilgrims.

PROGRAM #3358, British Choral Works (First aired on 7/13/2012)                                                           





Tarik O’Regan / Conspirare/Craig Hella Johnson/Company of Voices

Threshold of Night

O’Regan: The Ecstasies Above [17:26]

Harmonia Mundi HMU 807490
Or download from iTunes,, or

John Tavener / The Tallis Scholars / Peter Phillips, conductor

Ikon of Light

Mystic Prayer to the Holy Spirit [20:20]

Gimell 005
Available at
Another recording exists by Harry Christophers and the Sixteen on Coro Records. For that, try

Joby Talbot

Path of Miracles

Leon [11:44]

Signum #078.* *