Boris Yoffe: Song of Songs
The Hilliard Ensemble : discography

ECM New Series 2174

Playing time: 51'53

Recorded November 2009
Propstei St. Gerold


Boris Yoffe: Song of Songs

Rosamunde Quartett & The Hilliard Ensemble


 1.  I sought him but I found him not [12:30] 
 2.  My own vineyard I did not keep [4:21] 
 3.  I sleep, but my heart waketh [13:57] 
 4.  My head is filled with dew, my locks with drops of the night [11:05] 
 5.  My soul went forth when he spoke [10:00] 


Rosamunde Quartett:
Andreas Reiner, violin
Diane Pascal, violin
Helmut Nicolai, viola
Anja Lechner, cello

The Hilliard Ensemble:
David James, countertenor
Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor
Steven Harrold, tenor
Gordon Jones, baritone


"Song of Songs", with its unique collaboration between the Rosamunde Quartett and the Hilliard Ensemble, is the ECM New Series debut for composer Boris Yoffe.

The `Book of Quartets' is written without any performance instructions or direction for interpretation. "I was prepared to resign myself," says Yoffe, "to the fact that my excessive hopes could hardly be realised - of finding a highly virtuosic and sensitive quartet that would willingly take the trouble to examine all the subtleties and contradictions of my pieces with the utmost seriousness, and make its own selection from the enormous collection, determining tempo, dynamics, agogics and articulation, and on top of that would recreate the pieces in concerts almost every time with a free use of rubato. But that's exactly what happened with the superb Rosamunde Quartett, to whom this work proved to be interesting and attractive!"

The present recording followed on from Rosamunde's performances in their Munich concert series "From the Quartet Book". In a CD booklet note, Yoffe writes that the contribution of the Hilliard Ensemble, "whose versions of Machaut, Palestrina or Lassus have for years been my yardstick for the art of singing, surpassed everything I could have hoped for..."

"Song of Songs" was produced by Manfred Eicher in St Gerold in November 2009, just a few months after the Hilliard's recording of "Officium Novum". The monastery has also been the site of Rosamunde recordings including the Mansurian quartets, as well as many other ECM albums of both composed and improvised music.