This Day - Celebrating a century of British women's right to vote (CD)

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Blossom Street, Hilary Campbell

On 14 December 1918, women were permitted to stand for Parliament and were granted the vote for the first time in British history. As part of the centenary celebrations for this milestone and to raise awareness of persistent inequalities in society, Hilary Campbell and the distinctive choir, Blossom Street, present repertoire by famous and lesser-known female composers ranging from Rebecca Clarke’s richly moving Ave Maria to Stef Conner’s haunting setting of Hildegard von Bingen’s text ‘O Splendidissima Gemma.’

Blossom Street is a versatile and vibrant chamber choir composing some of the UK’s best young singers, which performs regularly on TV and radio as well as on the concert platform. Directed by Hilary Campbell, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, the group was formed over a decade ago, while the singers were studying at the University of York, and relocated to London in 2007. On the concert platform, Blossom Street has performed at many of the major London venues including Wigmore Hall, St. John’s Smith Square and St. James’s Piccadilly, and further afield at places like the Royal Palace, Madrid.

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Elizabeth Poston
1. The Water of Tyne (version for treble choir)

Judith Weir
2. Holy Innocents

Nicola LeFanu
3. Misterium mirabile

Stef Conner
4. O splendidissima gemma

Kerry Andrew
5. Night-time Songs

Cecilia McDowall
6. Come home little sister

Judith Bingham
7. The Ghost of Combermere Abbey

Jane M. Joseph
8. A little Childe there is ibore

Rebecca Clarke
9. Ave Maria

Hilary Campbell
10. Song of the Dane Women

Imogen Holst
11. As I sat under a holly tree

Roxanna Panufnik
12. The Sweet Spring

Alison Willis
13. Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

Elizabeth Maconchy
14. This Day

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The Classical Music Collector:

As the title declares, this is a CD comprised entirely of choral works by British women, written at various times through the last century. The release celebrates the centenary of a very significant date, 14 December 1918, when the election was held that introduced women’s suffrage to the United Kingdom. Many of the composers are quite familiar, Judith Weir, Roxanna Panufnik, Elisabeth Maconchy, Nicola LeFanu, and inevitably Hildegard, but others are less well-known, providing a wide spectrum of styles. As the works were not specifically written for the celebration, the subject matter varies broadly, making for a satisfyingly non-narrative program. The recent fad for choral music led by such composers as Eric Whitacre had felt rather male-dominated and as well as offering a satisfying compendium of women’s music, this CD makes the strong point that women have always written choral music too!

- Chris Dench