The Judas Tree


HTGCD263 – 50660332660575

The Judas Tree is the fruit of a collaboration between the poet Thomas Blackburn (1916–77) and composer Peter Dickinson. The Washington Cathedral performance is captured here. Blackburn explores the role of Judas in the events leading up to Christ’s passion and death. The varied types of music are deliberately designed to exploit Blackburn’s telling imagery.

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    THE JUDAS TREE:  A Musical Drama of Judas Iscariot

    Poetry and prose by Thomas Blackburn (1916-1977)
    Music by Peter Dickinson (born 1934)

    PART ONE (29’24’’)

    1. INTRODUCTION    1’34’’
    2. CHORIS I: ‘Listen! The hounds of the judge and the priest’    3’16’’
    3. Pilate: ‘The tree of Man and God’
      FANFARE I    1’51’’
    4. Pilate: ‘Yes, I suppose I did try to see that man’s point of view’
      FANFARE II   1’47’’
    5. Pilate: ‘But to the point’  0’38’’
    6. CHORUS II: ‘Sharply defined in their crystalline heaven like stars’   2’41’’
    7. Pilate: ‘Yes, I think it is high time we did something for Judas’
      SPOKEN CHORUS: ‘He is the dark side of the Divine Imagination’   1’01’’
    8. Pilate: ‘He has certainly had an extremely raw deal’   1’05’’
    9. Matthew: ‘Then Judas, which had betrayed Him’   1’28’’
    10. Pilate: ‘Thank you, Matthew, remarkable prose’  2’53’’
    11. CHORUS III: ‘There’s raw meat for the tiger-cub’   1’59’’
    12. Pilate: ‘I hardly dare suggest’  1’30’’
    13. CHORUS III (contd.): ‘Now here’s a curious kettle’     2’11’’
    14. Pilate: ‘And that is true’   1’43’’
    15. Pilate: ‘Can you, in all conscience, attribute that statement’
      CHORALE: ‘O sacred head, sore wounded’    3’07’’
    16. FANFARE III    0’39’’


PART TWO (18’10’’)

    CHORUS IV: ‘Let us pray’   2’59’’
  2.  The Dominican: ‘The Viaticum or Last Communion....’
    PSALM 129: ‘De profundis clamo ad te, Domine’   2’59’’
  3. AGNUS DEI: ‘Ecce Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi’  1’29’’
  4. CHORUS V: ‘I am most familiar with the ways of the dead’    3’45’’
  5. The Dominican: ‘Listen to me!’
    PSALM 129: ‘De profundis clamo ad te, Domine’   3’41’’
  6. CHORUS VI: ‘Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine’   1’37’’
  7. Leader of the Chorus: ‘Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?’
    FANFARE IV      1’39’’


PART THREE (22’22’’)

  1. INTRODUCTION AND CHORUS VII: ‘Beyond the circumference of his beatitude’
    MARCH: Commandant: ‘Left, left; left, right, left’     2’38’’
  2. HYMN: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty’   0’31’’
  3. Commandant: ‘Number one, number two, number three.....’   4’09’’
  4. Judas: ‘Men and women’    4’28’’
  5. CHORUS VIII: ‘It is a lamentation of dust in the heart of the city’   4’53’’
  6. MARCH: Commandant: ‘Left, left; left, right, left’  3’33’’
  7. EPILOGUE       2’09’’

Total time:  69’56’’


  1. admin

    ‘The recording can be recommended as a vibrant work by two highly imaginative creators on a subject familiar to a global audience.’
    British Music Society Journal, July 2015

  2. admin

    ‘This is another of Dickinson’s pieces that is emphatically worth hearing – often disturbing and often moving.’
    Nigel Simeone, International Record Review, November 2014

  3. admin

    ‘This remarkable work……. will surely come as an epiphanal discovery to many listeners……..The performance is compelling and wholly convincing, well recorded.’
    Musical Opinion October-December 2014

  4. admin

    ‘No one can come away from a performance of thiswork unmoved by its drama, untouched by its poetry, untroubled by its meaning.’
    The Washington Post

  5. admin

    ‘This is a powerful drama reinforced by powerful and original music.’

  6. admin

    ‘The Judas Tree maybe a period piece but it is a fascinating one, a slice of 1960s memorabilia from that extraordinary cultural decade.’
    Gramophone August 2014

  7. admin

    ‘This is a very notable performance of a very searching work.’
    Music and Vision July 2014

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