The Sacred Hour: reverie                                                                                Back to list of works index

 

This work was published in 1929, and words were added in 1933, when a song version was published.  The sheet music of song version was revised in 1952, but in fact neither of these song versions correspond to the arrangement sung by Peter Dawson.

 

The Sacred Hour shares with In a Monastery Garden the atmosphere of a Catholic religious establishment, with Latin chanting, organ and bells, but though attracting two recordings by the composer and two more by internationally renowned singers, no professional recording has been made since 1948. 

 

Composer’s synopsis

A young priest is playing the organ, the melody expressing his changing mood.  His thoughts are suddenly interrupted by the singing of the “Ave Maria”, and in an access of reverent emotion he resumes playing and almost imperceptibly his melody adapts itself to the “Ave Maria” (which is still being sung) and rises to a grand climax of devotional fervour.

 

 

The Sacred Hour– orchestral

 

Artists

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Concert O, chorus, Ketèlbey               

Columbia 5289

WA 8497-2, 8498-2

10” 78, 2 sides

[Apr 29] rec. Jan 29

May 29 p.543

BL, PD, TM, (TM CAS)  (TM CD)

     Re-issue

- Columbia 2111D

 

 

 

 

 

string orchestra, organ, male chorus

Broadcast Twelve 5106

LO 520

10” 78

[Nov 29]               

Nov 29 p.256

(TM CD)

New Empire O, vocal quartet

Decca K 524

MA 1453-1,2,3

12” 78

[Aug 30]               

Aug 30 p.135

BL

London Palladium O, male quartet, Pethers

HMV C 2202

2B 671-2

12” 78

[Oct 31] rec. Mar 31

Oct 31 p.186

BL, (TM CD)

     Re-issue

Victor 36373

 

12” 78

[ca.1940?]

 

WC, PD

Franz Hoffman and his O

Imperial Z 114

159A

10” 78

Mar 32 p.436

BL

Louis Voss Grand O

Bosworth BC 1090

CP 790

10” 78

[1938?]

Concert O, male chorus, Ketèlbey

Decca F 7618

DR 4755

10” 78

[Nov  40]

Dec 40 p.154-5

(TM CD)

New Promenade O, Wardour Singers, Robertson

London R 10019

DR 12249

10” 78

[1948?]

WC

chorus, orch, organ, Schleger

Ultraphon (Telefunken) A 1036               

18191

10” 78

?

MMU

WC

Dempsey names the organist on 5106 as R.G. Somers on the Wurliztzer at Stoll Picture Theatre, London.  Englund names the chorus on 5289 as Columbia Opera Co.

Ketèlbey’s 1929 recording can be heard at http://www.mgthomas.co.uk/Soundfiles/Orchestral/Soundfiles-Orchestral.htm

 

Ketèlbey’s first recording is the only complete one.  In fact he adds an extra 4 bars of organ solo to help fill out the second side.  The total playing time is only 5’ 31”.  His second recording is compressed on to single 10” side, and has to make 3 cuts totalling 22 bars, thus reducing the playing time to 3’ 12”.   The 1929 recording has no bell (probably added to the score for the Dawson recording).  The 1940 recording omits both harp and organ, and has a small male voice choir rather than mixed voices.  The timpani part used in this recording differs from the published one. 

 

The version on Broadcast Twelve makes two cuts totalling 25 bars, including the entire second section.  The violin solo at the beginning is taken by the entire first violin section, but at other points the scoring is reduced.

 

Pethers makes two cuts, totalling 19 bars.

 

 

The Sacred Hour – other instrumental

 

Artists

Instruments

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Reginald Foort

Wurlizter organ, New Gallery Cinema, London

HMV B 3197

Bb 16722-II

10” 78

[Dec 29] rec. Apr 29

Dec 29 p.321

BL, (TM CD)

Quentin Maclean, vocal quartet

Christie Unit organ, Regal, Marble Arch, London

Columbia 5640

WA 9692-2, 9691-2

10” 78, 2 sides

[Jan 30]

Jan 30 p.368

     Re-issue

 

- Columbia 2360D

 

10” 78, 2 sides

 

 

 

     Re-issue?

organ with orchestra?

Sterndale STE 1315

 

CD

 

 

 

Eric Halstead

piano

private recording

web

[2002]   

(TM CD)

The Halstead recording is available at http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/3998219-collection-of-ketelbey-midi-files-zip

 

Reginald Foort makes 4 cuts, totalling 31 bars, including the entire second section.  In the coda, he plays four bars marked fortissimo quietly.      

 

                               

The Sacred Hour – solo vocal                

 

Artists

Label

Matrix

Format

Date

Review

Locations

Lotte Lehmann (s), 2 speakers, Berliner Staatskapelle (chorus, orchestra), organ

Odeon O 4818

Be 8876

10” 78

rec.20 Feb 30

 

 

Lotte Lehmann (s), 2 speakers, Berliner Staatskapelle (chorus, orchestra), organ, Römer

Odeon  O 4818

Be 8876-2

10” 78

rec.19 June 30

BL, WC, (TM CD)

     Re-issue

- Decca 23058

Be 8876

10” 78

 

 

WC

Peter Dawson, chorus, Herbert Dawson (organ), orchestra

HMV C 2595

2B 3501-I

12“ 78

[Dec 33]                rec.Mar 33

Dec 33 p.279

BL, WC (TM CAS)

     Re-issue

- World Records SM 412

LP

1977

BL, TM

     Re-issue

- World Records SH 1078231?

LP

VLM Autumn 84

     Re-issue

- Retrospect TCSH 1078234

CAS

1984

BL

     Re-issue

- BBC Records REB 689

LP

1987

BL

     Re-issue

- BBC Records ZCF 689

CD

1988

BL

     Re-issue

- Naxos 8.110848

CD

2002

BL, NX, PD, TM

 

The Lehmann version is a scena with the title "Andachtsstunde" (= Hour of Prayer).  The Odeon catalogue has Karl Zander as conductor, perhaps for the earlier recording.

The two sections have the following dialogue spoken over the music, then for the final section Lehmann sings an ethereal descant above the choir.   Although there are 4 cuts totalling 36 bars, these are mainly of repeated material.  The playing time is 3’ 21“.  The orchestra seems to consist of strings, organ, harp and timpani.   If it is possible to go "over the top" in the music of a composer is regularly already over the top, then this is the occasion!

 

Text, transcribed by Clemens Woellner and translated by Tom McCanna

Der Priester    Wie still es hier ist                                                        Priest               How tranquil it is here,

und wie ruh' mein Herz schlägt,                                                           and how quietly my heart beats

wenn ich dich spiele, geliebte Orgel,                                                    when I play on you, beloved organ,

und wie die Welt da draussen versinkt                                                 and how out there the world disappears

mit ihren sündigen Gedanken                                                              with its sinful thoughts

und ihrem lockenden Frühling,                                                            and its enticing  feelings of spring,

ihrem Frühling                                                                                     its feelings of spring

 

Versuchung     So komm doch in uns're Arme!                                   Temptation     Just come into our arms!

So komm doch zu unser'm Tanz!                                                        Just come into our dance!

Das Leben singt dir ein Märchen,                                                        Life is singing you a tale

das viel schöner ist als alle,                                                                  that is far more beautiful than anything

die du je geträumt hast.                                                                        you have ever dreamed of.

 

Der Priester    Hinweg, Versuchung!                                                  Priest               Away, Temptation!

 

Versuchung     So komm doch in uns're Arme!                                   Temptation     Just come into our arms!

So komm doch zu unser'm Tanz!                                                        Just come into our dance!

Glaub doch an den Frühling,                                                               Just think about springtime

die Sonne, die Liebe, komm!.                                                              about sunlight, about love, come!

 

Der Priester    Nein, nein, ich darf nicht.                                            Priest               No, no, I cannot.

 

Männerchor    Dominus tecum,                                                          Men's chorus  The Lord be with you.

                        Benedicta tu                                                                                         Blessed be thou.

 

Sopran und Chor        Ave Maria gratia plena,                                    Soprano & chorus      Hail Mary, full of grace.

                        Dominus tecum,                                                                                  The Lord be with you.

                        Benedicta tu.                                                                                        Blessed be thou.

                        Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis,                                                                Holy Mary, pray for us,

                        Sancta Maria.                                                                                       Holy Mary.

 

Der Priester    Gelobt seist du, Maria.                                                 Priest               Blessed be thou, Mary.                                           

 

 

Dempsey incorrectly gives the date of  the Dawson recording as September 1932:  the words were not published until 1933, and then fails to promote sales by naming Dawson on the cover. The date of March 1933 is provided by Englund.         

There are 3 cuts totalling 32 bars, unfortunately omitting two entire melodic sections.  The total playing time is 3’ 52“.  The orchestra omits harp, but has bells.  Dawson sings the melody in the first and final sections.  Curiously, the final verse has Dawson singing the melody to English words, while the chorus sopranos sing a similar melody in Latin.

  

                                               

webpage updated 12th Jan 2017