The Fire of Love

Two beautiful choral collections, the first based on the writings of 14th century hermit Richard Rolle and the second on William Blake’s Songs of Innocence.  Written for and performed by The Same Stream Choir and conductor James Jordan.

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Digital Download and CD purchase available exclusively now from GIA Choral Works ahead of general release on all major platforms 5-Feb-2021.


Taken from the album sleeve notes:

Somehow, I knew that I and The Same Stream needed to collaborate on a recording with Patrick Hawes.  This recording grew out of our shared desire to collaborate on some new scores.  Over the months that ensued from our initial meeting, the music on this CD grew out of meaningful exchanges between a composer and a conductor.  From the very beginning, we both shared ideas and, if I might be so bold to say, dreams of what would be on this recording.  Both works, The Fire of Love and Songs of Innocence, represent settings of profound poets that capture some essences of lives lived.  Richard Rolle speaks about spiritual awakening in The Fire of Love, while William Blake’s Songs of Innocence allows us a glimpse into simple, joyous views of the world.  But what made an impact upon us all was the honesty that Patrick Hawes knitted into these scores.  Working with him on this recording was inspirational for us all.  His passion for communicating through sound was radiantly clear to us, and it is our hope that his passion for these words by Rolle and Blake become alive in your ears and your heart.

The music on this recording magically allows us to explore both simple and innocent concepts of love and also helps to guide each of us to deeper exploration of our own spirituality through the words of Rolle and Blake.  These works by Patrick Hawes seem to bookend beautifully those deeply human aspects that teach us of both love and wonder through words that relay the moral and personal intensity of life’s journeys.  The messages of these scores lie in the marriage of the words and the music and the powerful metaphors that are presented in both works.  Truly, in the words of Rolle, “we were impelled to sing.”  – James Jordan

The Fire of Love

I am extremely grateful to my brother Andrew for adapting the writings of Richard Rolle into these six choral ‘songs’.  As well as capturing a deep and passionate spiritual journey, they possess alluring pictorial qualities and flowing poetic lines which make them ideal for rich and varied choral treatment.  Rolle believed that there are three phases of the soul’s movement towards God – heat, sweetness and song.  This Fire aims to create a sense of purifying fire being kindled in the human soul while This is the Love recognises the fire as a ‘shining’, enlightening love.  Eternal Praises is an expression of that joy which sweetness brings once the mind has become changed through heat.  In Paradise speaks of a quieter, more peaceful ecstasy.  The final two movements rejoice in the gift of song.  The Angel’s Praise becomes almost breathless in its desire to “sing all that before I said”.  Endless Love is essentially a chorale which unfolds into an eternal “ghostly symphony”.  The soul has moved towards its maker and, now that it is renewed, desires nothing more than to glorify God through song.  – Patrick Hawes

Songs of Innocence

This setting of nine of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence for choir and piano is testament to my long affinity with the poems.  Given the public’s renewed interest in Blake’s work, I feel this is now the perfect time for their release.  The fragile poetry gives rise to a tender and heartfelt musical style heard from the outset in Introduction. Here, Blake sees himself as a piper and his poetry as melody and song.  He becomes deeply moved and inspired by the vision of a child who urges him to sing and then write about innocent things which “every child may joy to hear.”  The choir and piano alternate in a gentle and evocative interpretation of The Shepherd before dancing rhythms and figurations suggest children at play in The Echoing Green.  In The Lamb the piano is dispensed with, giving way to simple four-part harmony together with high-voice solos.  The tranquility is broken by the urgent calls of The Little Boy Lost and Found as a rolling piano accompaniment underpins a tale of fear and despair where the little boy eventually finds repose in the arms of a compassionate Father.  The exquisite text of A Cradle Song inspires a warm lullaby with the solo soprano conveying a deep maternal love.  The Divine Image aspires to create an angelic world where Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love become personified and offer sweet caresses to the listener.  A Dream brings a period of light relief, with its playful tale of a beetle and a glow-worm, before the rich sonorities and floating melodies of On Another’s Sorrow bring the collection to a close.  “Till our grief is fled and gone,” the choir sings as the piano descends into deep harmony, and we are left with an image of a God who is unable to stand passively by but can only “sit by us and moan.” – Patrick Hawes

 

The Fire of Love
1. This Fire (4.50)
2. This Is The Love (3.03)
3. Eternal Praises (4.12)
4. In Paradise (3.48)
5. The Angel’s Praise (4.50)
6. Endless Love (4.57)

Songs of Innocence
7. Introduction (4.08)
8. The Shepherd (3.06)
9. The Echoing Green (3.05)
10. The Lamb (3.48)
11. The Little Boy Lost and Found (2.43)
12. A Cradle Song (4.02)
13. The Divine Image (4.09)
14. A Dream (3.16)
15. On Another’s Sorrow (6.03)

[Total duration: 60.00 minutes]

Release date: December 2020

Patrick Hawes composer

Andrew Hawes librettist (tracks 1-6)

James Jordan conductor
The Same Stream choir

Amanda Agnew, Zach Beeksma, Jesse Borrower, Lucas DeJesus, Ashley Dupont, Corey Everly, David Falatok, Megan Gallagher, Guisella Houlahan, Zach Kent, Quinn Kimball James Kinzel, Christian Koller, Matt Koller, Kristen Kozub, Sam Lax, Colton Martin, Cortlandt Matthews, Alex Meakem, Alex Miller, Guillermo Pasarin, Liz Richter, Sam Scheibe, Jessica Stanislawczyk, Gregory Stout, Joslyn Thomas, NicolePaige Uvenio, Camille Watson.

Megan Gallagher (soprano soloist, tracks 12 & 15)
Christian Koller (tenor soloist, tracks 2 & 6)
Cortlandt Matthews (tenor soloist, tracks 12 & 15)
Jessica Stanislawczyk (soprano soloist, track 2)

Corey Everly piano (all except track 10)
Valissa Wilwerth violin I (tracks 1-6)
Blake Espy violin II (tracks 1-6)
Jason DePue viola (tracks 1-6)
Branson Yeast cello (tracks 1-6)

James Whitbourn producer
Paul Vazquez recording engineer
David Wright editor/pre-master/post-production

GIA Choral Works & Naxos record label

Recorded at The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia (USA) in January 2020.