Recordings of Music by Michael Hurd

Most recent first. Earlier items are included solely for archive purposes.


CHORAL MUSIC vol 1

CD

Lyrita
B06XG4M5XL
2017

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Lyrita

Choral Music Vol 1

Michael Hurd (1928-2006)

A Secular Anthem (1987)
Genesis (1987)
Five Spiritual Songs (1996)
Rejoice With Us (1987)
Night Songs of Edward Thomas (1994)
Missa Brevis (1966)
Merciles Beaute (1980)
A Parley of Owls (1987)
Praise Ye The Lord (1966)

Vasari Singers

Conducted by Jeremy Backhouse

Recorded at St Jude of the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London
February 2016

Review 1

Review 2

Review 3


ORCHESTRAL MUSIC &
POP CANTATAS

2 CD set

Dutton Vocalion
CDLX 7297
2012

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Dutton Vocalion

Orchestral Music & Pop Cantatas

Michael Hurd (1928-2006)

CD1

Overture to an Unwritten Comedy (1970 rev 1979)
Sinfonia Concertante (1968 rev 1973) †
Dance Diversions (1972)
Concerto da Camera (1979) ‡
Little Suite (1983)
Plaine and Fancie (1993)
Harlequin Suite (1971 rev 1983)

CD 2

Charms and Ceremonies (1969)
Hip Hip Horatio (1975)° ∝
Nine of Anon (1981) ×
A New Nowell (1986) ×

Lorraine McAslan (violin) †
Nicholas Daniel (oboe) ‡
Anthony Gregory (tenor) °
Anna Lush (soprano) ∝
Alex Wells (piano) ×

New London Children's Choir (CD2)
New London Orchestra

Conducted by Ronald Corp

Recorded at St Jude of the Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London
11 March 2012 [CD2 29-52] and 23-25 April 2012 [CD1 1-28]


SHEPHERD'S CALENDAR, THE

Dutton Vocalion
CDLX 7280
2011

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Dutton Vocalion

Shepherd's Calendar

Ronald Corp (b 1951)

And All the Trumpets Sounded (1989) 1

Michael Hurd (1928-2006)

The Shepherd's Calendar (1975) 2

Mark Stone (baritone) 1
Roderick Williams (baritone) 2

The London Chorus
New London Children's Choir 1
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Conducted by Ronald Corp

Recorded at The Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset 27 - 28 June 2011

Hurd's selection from John Clare is available as an MS Word document here
© and by arrangement with Novello & Co Ltd

To download a music sample of the opening movement of The Shepherd's Calendar (MP3 format, 1'02") click the button
© and by arrangement with Dutton Epoch


PIPINGS AND BOWINGS

Metier
MSV 28522
2011

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Divine Art

Pipings and Bowings

Lyrical English Chamber Music

Michael Hurd

1 Sonata for Violin and Piano (1979, 1985)
2 Five Preludes for Piano (1989)
3 Sonatina for Recorder and Piano (1964, 2002)
4 Three Piece Suite for Recorder and String Quartet (2004)



John Turner, recorder
Peter Lawson, piano
Richard Howarth, violin

The Manchester Chamber Ensemble
(Richard Howarth and Sarah Whittingham, violins; Richard Williamson, viola; Jonathan Price, cello)

Recorded in the Whiteley Hall, Chetham's School, Manchester on 29 November and 19 December 2009 (the composer's birthday)

Also includes:

Robin Milford (1903-1959)

Prelude op 92 for violin, cello and piano (1948)
Three Airs op 109 for recorder and piano (1956)
Fantasia in B minor op 74 for string quartet (1945)
Sonatina in F major op 107 for recorder and piano (1956)
Christmas Pastoral op 111 for recorder and piano (1957)

Dick Blackford (b 1936)

Concerto for recorder and string quartet (2007)

To hear a section of the slow movement from Michael Hurd's Sonata for Violin and Piano (MP3 format, 1'05") click the button

© and by arrangement with Divine Art Ltd

Reviews here.


THE WIDOW OF EPHESUS

Dutton Epoch
CDLX 7269
2011

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Dutton Vocalion

The Widow of Ephesus

1 The Widow of Ephesus (1971)
2 Mr Owen's Great Endeavour (1990)



Pippa Goss, soprano 1
Louise Winter, mezzo-soprano 1
Michael Bundy, baritone 1,2

Orchestra Nova
City of Canterbury Chamber Choir 2

George Vass, conductor

Recorded in the Henry Wood Hall, London, 8 & 9 October 2010

Libretti for both works are available as MS Word documents by clicking the relevant link below, by arrangement with Novello & Co Ltd.

The Widow of Ephesus

Mr Owen's Great Endeavour

To download a music sample of the central trio from The Widow of Ephesus (MP3 format, 1'12") click the button

© and by arrangement with Dutton Epoch


POP CANTATAS

Naxos
8.572505
2011

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Naxos

Pop Cantatas

1 Jonah-Man Jazz (1966)
2 Prodigal (1989)
3 Rooster Rag (1975)
4 Swingin'Samson (1973)
5 Captain Coram's Kids (1987)


John Addison, narrator (1,5)
Alexander Wells, piano (2-4)
Members of the New London Orchestra
New London Children's Choir

Director - Ronald Corp

Further details from the New London Orchestra's own site here.

Libretti for the cantatas are available here, by arrangement with Novello & Co Ltd.

To download a music sample of " I Need a Boat Man " from Jonah-Man Jazz (MP3 format, 1'12") click the button

© and by arrangement with Naxos Rights International Ltd


Reviews here.


SHORE LEAVE

Dutton Epoch
CDLX 7243
2010

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Dutton Vocalion

Shore Leave

Elgar : Sea Pictures & Pageant of Empire
Gurney : Lights Out
Hurd : Shore Leave (1962) words, Charles Causley

1: Convoy
2: Elizabethan Sailor's Song
3: Shore Leave
4: Able Seaman Hodge Remembers Ceylon
5: Sailor's Carol

Roderick Williams (baritone)
BBC Concert Orchestra
Martin Yates

To download a music sample of the third song (MP3 format, 1'00")
click the button

© and by arrangement with Dutton Epoch

"This is a remarkable programme of orchestral song cycles in which Roderick Williams is accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Martin Yates; it also features the world premiere recording of Elgar's songs for "Pageant of Empire" - seven gloriously tuneful numbers in Elgar's most expansive vein. Ivor Gurney's "Light's Out" and Michael Hurd's "Shore Leave", both haunting and evocative song cycles with the Concert Orchestra, make this an unforgettable portrait of the art of Roderick Williams."

Publisher's note

"It comes as something of a shock to realise that I made the first version of Shore Leave thirty-six years ago! That version, for tenor and strings, was first performed in Haslemere by Wilfrid Brown and the Southern String Orchestra on 2 February 1963. When preparing the score for publication I decided to rework it for baritone, and that version was first performed by John Barrow on 20 May 1967.

The poems come from Charles Causley's 1960 collection Union Street and chart his nostalgic recollections of six war-time years in the Royal Navy. Although they had no personal relevance for me, I found it easy to empathise with Causley's emotions. More importantly, his unashamed lyricism (rare in modern poetry) exactly matched my own addiction to straightforward melody.

The first and last songs ['Convoy' and 'Sailor's Carol'] are related musically and by the fact that both lament the death of comrades. The second and fourth songs ['Elizabethan Sailor's Song' and 'Able Seaman Hodge remembers Ceylon'] are by way of light relief � the nostalgia being this time for the delights available to the sailor on shore leave. The third song ['Shore Leave'] recalls the abiding effect on a poet whom fate happened to send to sea."

Composer's own programme note, 1998

"Hurd has written five attractive compositions, deserving of greater exposure."

John T Hughes, International Record Review May 2010

"Williams is at his most impressive in the two song cycles of Ivor Gurney and Michael Hurd; respectively, 'Lights Out' to poems by the First World War poet Edward Thomas, and the 1962 'Shore Leave' to poems by Charles Causley. These are both lovely works that I will certainly return to many times: beautiful songs beautifully sung with great depth of feeling by Williams. The orchestration of the Gurney cycle by Jeremy Dibble is marvellously imaginative. The recording is excellent and the Dutton label is to be commended for its continued championing of so much, but so little known, treasurable British music."

'Jacobite', Amazon customer review

"The disc ends with a surprise: the unbelievable beautiful `Shore Leave' by a fellow named Michael Hurd. The central song is so beautiful, so gripping, it's worth the money of the disc!

Charles Vgood, Amazon customer review


THREE-PIECE SUITE

Dutton
CDLX 7191
2007

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Over The Water

Manchester Camerata Ensemble
John Turner (recorder)
Philip Mackenzie

incl. Hurd : Three Piece Suite (2004)

Written for and dedicated to John Turner, "Three-Piece Suite" was Michael Hurd's final work. The first two movements were adapted from interludes originally for flute and piano in a choral cantata "Three Saints in One".

"Anything by Michael Hurd is going to be worth hearing. His compact little Three-Piece-Suite is pleasing and memorable - maybe infused with sentimentality but none the worse for that. The first and third movements are beguilingly light of spirit and in the finale also touching."

Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International.

To download a music sample (MP3 format, 1'12")
click the button

© and by arrangement with Dutton Epoch


SONG OF ST FRANCIS

AMG
W157120
2003

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Serenity

Elizabeth Hynes

incl. Hurd : A Prayer (Song) of St Francis (1983)


OVERTURE TO AN
UNWRITTEN COMEDY

ASV Digital
CD WHL 2133
2002

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British Light Overtures 1

Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Gavin Sutherland

incl. Hurd : Overture to an Unwritten Comedy (1970)

"Composed in 1970, revised in 1979 before acquiring the present title in 1984. The overall structure is sonata form, and explores two contrasting themes based around a perfect and augmented fourth."

Philip Lane (sleeve notes)

To download a music sample (MP3 format, 1'00") of the opening
click the button


SINFONIA CONCERTANTE

Naxos
8.555069
2001

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English String Miniatures Vol 3

Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Robert Gibbs (violin)
David Lloyd-Jones

incl. Hurd : Sinfonia Concertante (1973)

Recorded March 2000, St Pauls, New Southgate, London

"First performed in 1973 with the composer conducting the Kathleen Merritt String Orchestra, an ensemble renowned for its championing of British music for the medium. Its slightly austere title belies a generally light-hearted, neo-classical piece, which features a solo violin weaving its way in and out of the texture with the central passacaglia exploring the deepest emotions overall."

Philip Lane (sleeve notes)

"Anything by Michael Hurd is worth your ear-time. I recently welcomed his glorious Oboe Concerto on ASV and this 10 minute pocket violin concerto in all but name spins that same skein of regret and grace that flows from the Atterburg Third Suite; the highest praise."

Rob Barnett MusicWeb International

"For me the highlight of the programme is the Sinfonia Concertante by Michael Hurd, in which Robert Gibbs is the accomplished violin soloist. Again there are three movements, and again there is a beautifully lyrical movement at the centre."

Terry Barfoot MusicWeb International

To download a music sample (MP3 format, 1'00") of the central andante movement
click the button


DANCE DIVERSIONS

ASV White Line Light Classics
CD WHL 2131
2001

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British Light Music Discoveries 4

Royal Ballet Sinfonia
Gavin Sutherland

incl. Hurd : Dance Diversions (1972)

Also works by Rutter, Bennett, Arnold, Fanshawe, Blezard and Lewis.

"Commissioned by the Havant Symphony Orchestra and their conductor Peter Craddock to celebrate their tenth anniversary in 1972. Apart from the last, a kind of highland reel, the movements follow no particular dance metre, but explore instead contrasts of mood and rhythm that, in the balletic sense, might well be danced.

Structurally simple, they rely unashamedly on melody, though with the occasional harmonic and rhythmic twist to side-step the obvious."

Philip Lane (sleeve notes)

"Attractive invention is certainly not lacking in Michael Hurd's set of five Dance Diversions, nicely scored, mostly in pastel shades, and most English-sounding, reminding one a little of the Arnold regional Dances.

All this music is played freshly and spiritedly, and excellently recorded."

© Ivan March, Gramophone September 2001.

To download a music sample (MP3 format, 1'00") of the opening bars
click the button


CONCERTO DA CAMERA

ASV Digital
CD WHL 2130
2001

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English Oboe Concertos

Jill Crowther (oboe)
English Northern Philharmonia
Alan Cuckston

incl. Hurd : Concerto da Camera (1979)

Commissioned by the Havant Chamber Orchestra, conductor Peter Craddock, and written for the oboist Geoffrey Bridge. First performed 16 June 1979.

To download a music sample (MP3 format, 1'00")
click the button

"Michael Hurd's concerto is just about in the light category. Light in the sense that that word appears in the word 'delight'. This is highly romantic and in it the oboe becomes the delectable singer of nasally trilling eloquence. The work is a cousin to the Malcolm Arnold concerto (surely the princess among Arnold's mass of concise concertos). It trumps the Arnold in its plenitude of grace - a quality it draws down from the Finzi "Interlude".

The rocking middle movement has the gentle touch of Faur�'s "Pavane". The pert finale rounds off a gorgeous work which sets a challenge not completely met by the other works on this disc. The whole thing is over in 12 concise and gorgeous minutes.

This is an award-winning collection made irresistible by the Michael Hurd concerto."

Rob Barnett (MusicWeb classical reviews July 2001).

"Michael Hurd once told me that he was not treated as a serious composer because he had written two 'pop' cantatas. That is a sad prejudice. This is a very attractive work with a mellow, often glowing string accompaniment particularly in the central moderato movement.

It has a pastoral anachronistic feel about it and is, to my ears, unashamedly English, recalling England in its days of greatness and enviable moral and social manners. The music is not pompously decadent or Edwardian ... and we should all rejoice in that ... it has a charm that is not sentimental and a grace that reminds me of Mendelssohn whom Hurd has written about.

His love for Mendelssohn is admirable for I too share a very deep respect for that composer. The finale is light-hearted and may remind some of Alan Rawsthorne's happier style as in his Piano Concerto no. 1, for the slow movement of which Rawsthorne was indebted to another British composer."

© David Wright (MusicWeb classical reviews July 2001).


SONG OF ST FRANCIS

Marquis Classics
Toronto
EMI Music Canada
7 7471 81255 2 1
2000

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Come Ye Makers of Song

Toronto Children's Chorus
Jean Ashworth Battle

incl. Hurd : Prayer of St Francis (sic) (1983)

Also features works by Pergolesi, Mozart, Holst and Poulenc.

There are many really fine children's choirs in the world - Seattle, Indianapolis, the Czech Republic - but the Toronto Children's Chorus sets the standard, as it has done since its founding 22 years ago by Jean Ashworth Bartle. This standard applies not only to the sheer level of vocal and ensemble artistry these singers achieve, but also to the consistently excellent and challenging repertoire they master...

Perhaps most impressive is the choir's performance of the stunningly beautiful a cappella "Prayer of St. Francis" by Michael Hurd.

David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com


NINE OF ANON

ACTS International
ACTCD 200111
2000

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The Bromley Boy Singers

Richard Apsley

incl. Hurd : Nine of Anon (1981)

"This set of songs was commissioned by the Bromley Boy Singers and first performed in The Purcell Room on 30 April 1981. The set is similar in many ways to Benjamin Britten's "Friday Afternoons" both in concept and in the way it combines inspiring texts with diverse musical settings."

Sleeve notes.


FIVE SONGS OF PRAISE

Private (Fareham Philharmonic Society)
2000

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Fareham Philharmonic Choir

Fareham Philharmonic Orchestra
John Bawden

incl. Hurd : Five Songs of Praise (1999)

"a century of choral music in Fareham"


MARY, MOTHER, COME AND SEE

Opera Omnia OP280
1997

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Sing You Now

Farnham Youth Choir
Julia Freeman (piano)
David Victor Smith

incl. Hurd : Mary, Mother, Come and See (1965)

Part of a wider commission for the 1965 Farnham Festival (Canticles of the Virgin Mary), based on a fifteenth century English carol.


COME, O COME IN PIOUS LAYS

Abbey Recording Alpha LP
APS 343
1983

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St Woolos Cathedral Choir, Newport

Robert Morgan (organ)
Christopher Barton

incl. Hurd : Come, O Come in Pious Lays (A Festival Anthem)(1982)

Commissioned by Peter Davies of St Woolos Cathedral Choir for Tintern Festival 1982.


HIP-HIP HORATIO

Vista LP
VPS 1027
1975

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Two More Pop Cantatas

Southend Boys Choir
Michael Crabb

incl. Hurd / Blom : Hip-Hip Horatio (1975)

Recorded on Trafalgar Day, 21 October 1975.

" This is first class fun. In particular Michael Hurd's "Hip-Hip Horatio" bounces along in high spirits, bringing in snatches of melody which are often so fleeting and out of context that they are gone before a name can be put to them."

W.A.C. "Gramophone" July 1976.

To download the opening chorus from this recording (1' 40", MP3 format) click the button


SWINGIN' SAMSON

Vista LP
VPS 1009
1974

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Three Pop Cantatas

Southend Boys Choir
Michael Crabb

incl. Hurd : Swingin' Samson (1973)

Recorded by the choir for whom it was written.


JONAH-MAN JAZZ

Erase LP (private)
EO 250 S
1969

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Farnham Festival 1969

incl. Hurd : Jonah-Man Jazz (1966)

Recorded in Farnham Parish Church 9 May 1969


JONAH-MAN JAZZ

Private LP (Regent Sound)
1969

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Highfield Choir

Robin Orr

incl. Hurd : Jonah-Man Jazz (1966)


MUSIC'S PRAISE

Prestige (private LP)
date unknown

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The Shorter Chorale

Peter de Witt (organ)
John Jennings

incl. Hurd : Music's Praise (1968)

The choir of Shorter College, Rome, GA, United States.