About this work
Opus 65 "Brown Earth" sets the text of the poem 'Truly He Hath A Sweet Bed' by Thomas Moult. The work is dedicated "In memory of F. H. L.": Francis Herman Lucas (1878-1920), who was the composer's brother-in-law. Our thanks to family member Nicholas Zvegintzov for identifying his grandfather as the dedicatee.
The work received the prestigious Carnegie Award and had its first performance on 14 March 1923, at a concert in the Royal Albert Hall given by the combined musical societies of Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
By permission of the Master & Fellows of St John's College, Cambridge
Originally published by Stainer & Bell, the vocal scores are still available. The full score and orchestral parts were lost, but with the help of manuscripts held in the Library of St. John's College we have now been able to typeset the full score and parts. We intend to re-publish the work during 2019.
About this recording
Disclaimer In the absence of a live recording, we can only play a synthesized MP3 file generated from the typeset score.
It makes no artistic claims, and should only be used to gain a rough impression of the work and its orchestration.
In his Rootham anniversary talk on BBC Radio 3 in 1975, the late Prof Arthur Hutchings recalled a conversation with a friend who mistook a broadcast of Bliss's "Morning Heroes" for a work by Cyril Rootham:
"But which of Rootham's works did you first think this was? I mean, this broadcast of 'Morning Heroes'?"
Of course, I might have guessed the answer. He thought it was the choral orchestral setting of Thomas Moult's elegy, "Brown Earth". Now that's the one major work by Rootham, which, if not exactly a repertory work, does get performed up and down the country from time to time.
And the friend's mistake was no coincidence: Arthur Bliss had been a pupil of Cyril Rootham...