This is the full score of Herbert Howells' 1950 composition, Hymnus Paradisi for Soprano and Tenor Soli, SATB chorus and orchestra. Now available for the first time in print, this score has been prepared from the known sources, revised and edited with critical commentary, and includes a preface by Paul Spicer and introductory notes by Sir David Willcocks.
Four of the choral movements (II-V) are settings of Latin and English texts. These are drawn from the Psalms and the 'Miss pro defunctis', the book of Common Prayer, and are immemorial reflections upon the transient griefs and indestructible hopes of mankind. All are appropriate to the mood and purpose of a Requiem. Movement VI is a setting of lines from the Salisbury Diurnal, used here in the translation by Dr G. H. Palmer appearing at the end of Robert Bridges' Anthology The Spirit of Man.
The first performance was at the Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester on 7th September 1950, which the composer conducted. The Bach Choir gave the first London performance early in 1951, and recorded the work in 1970 with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Sir David Willcocks.