A note from the composer...
At the heart of BerkeleyCastle in Gloucestershire is TheMorning Room, formerly the Chapel of St Mary, where a glass cabinet displaysthe Berkeleyfamily antiphonary, a large and beautifully illuminated book of liturgicaltexts and chants dating back to about 1457, and the inspiration for the titleof this work.
Berkeley Castle is the oldest building in the country stilllived in by the same family who built it over 900 years ago. As a modern visitor, I was inspired by the historicaltimeline which traces the castle’s history from its Norman origins to presentday existence as a family home, tourist attraction and fairy tale wedding venue,imagining the many generations of visitors and their role at the castle. Influences in the music include the 18thor 19th century harness bells, displayed in the 14thcentury Buttery (used on horse drawn vehicles so that visitors could be heardin darkness or fog), a painting in the Picture Gallery ‘Old Berkeley Houndsfind in Bricket Wood’, circa 1820 and The Great Hall, the magnificentcentrepiece of the Castle, with its beautiful tapestries, stained glass windowsand minstrel’s gallery.
In 2002, a volume of Italian music manuscripts was discovered in thearchives of Berkeley Castle. Amongst these were some Vivaldi arias (thoughtto be the only known copies), from his opera La Costanza Degli-amori e de gl’odii (The triumphant constancy oflove and hate); excerpts from these are incorporated throughout the work in thecor anglais. The jaunty melody of Dentro al sen del sol ch’adoro (Deepwithin the sun that I adore) evolves from the texture towards the end of the piece,and other extracts quoted or alluded to are: Lascia almen che ti consegni (At least let you surrender), Parto con questa speme (I leave withthis hope) and Per Scorgere (To forsee truth). I am very grateful to Mr DavidSmith, Berkeley Castle Archivist, for his research support, and to Mr JohnBerkeley for his permission to use quotations from these manuscripts.