Past Hymns

Julian Anderson (1967)

Past Hymns 1996


The piece was commissioned by Sinfonia 21 with funds provided by the Arts Council of England for a Contemporary Music Network Tour. The title is an illusion to a number of hymn melodies which provided inspiration for the music, though they are not quoted as such. The tunes are all American in origin, either Negro spiritual or Melody and Sankey, and the music is inspired as much by the words of the hymns as by the characterisation of the tunes. The piece combines these with a kind of fast rhythmic polyphony, not unlike that found in Elizabethan consort music, a source already used in my previous Sinfonia 21 commission Tye’s Crye.

Julian Anderson

3.2.97, St John's Smith Square, London: Sinfonia 21/Martyn Brabbins plus UK tour
2.3.97 South Kensington, London: The London Ensemble / Richard Heason
30.4.98 St John's Smith Square, London: Sinfonia 21 / James Wood
2.5.98 St Petersburg, Russia: Hermitage Symphony Orchestra/Toby Purser
19.9.99 Warsaw Autumn Festival, Poland: Sinfonia 21 / Martyn Brabbins
24.6.03 St Magnus Festival: Scottish Ensemble
12.3.12 Ars Musica Festival, Brussels: Orchestre Royal de chambre de Wallonie / Jean Thorel
13.4.12 Royal Festival Hall, London: London Philharmonic Orchestra
24.9.12 Prague, Czech Republic: Berg Chamber Orchestra / Peter Vrabel