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Words have lain at the heart of Robin Holloway’s music throughout half a century of prolific composing. Released on the day of his seventy-fifth birthday, this album brings together six stellar performers associated with Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge – where Holloway is a Fellow – in celebration of the lyrical and dramatic qualities of his abundant output, as well as its profound symbolism.

The Lovers’ Well draws on a cycle of poems by Geoffrey Hill whose themes – a Spanish castle, amorous longing, carnal guilt, a wound that will not heal – make it a dark brother to Souvenirs de Monsalvat, a ‘waltz-synthesis on themes from Wagner’s Parsifal’ for piano four hands. Violence is barely contained by the formal games of A Medley of Nursery Rhymes and Conundrums, while radiant beauty imbues two works bringing together all four voices: a mini-cantata on couplets by John Ruskin and a partsong to words by Shelley.