It was really nice to hear my setting of O lux beata Trinitas (2013) on BBC Radio Scotland’s Classic Unwrapped yesterday. The recording was taken from the forthcoming CD of the same title by The Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen, conducted by David Smith. The programme can be heard here at about 1.22.00 in (available until 20 June). Two broadcasts on national radio in one day…
It was really nice to hear my setting of O sacrum convivium (2012) on BBC Radio 3’s The Choir earlier today. The recording was taken from the forthcoming CD of the same title by The Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen, conducted by David Smith. The programme can be heard here at about 36 minutes in (available until 20 June).
May heralds the beginning of a busy couple of months with performances and premières across the country and further afield. The Choir of St Pancras Church will give the première of Prayer to St Alban (2016) at the National Gallery in London as part of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music 2016 on the 13 May. The Northern Spirit Singers will perform O salutaris Hostia (2008) at The Sage, Gateshead on the 22 May and the Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen, will perform O sacrum convivium (2012) as part of the their CD launch event on the 27 May in Aberdeen. At the end of the month The Harry Ensemble will give the Norwegian première of Veni Sponsa Christi (2015) as part of their Norwegian tour.
I was thrilled to hear that my work Judas Mercartor Pessimus (2016) has won the inaugural composition competition of the Gesauldo Six, one of the country’s leading vocal ensembles. The work will be performed by the group on the 19 June at St John’s Smith Square in London.
It was nice to have a few copies of my motet O salutaris hostia (2008) arrive in the post this morning, nicely published by Schott Music in Germany this month. Copies are available to buy here.
My motets O lux beata Trinitas (2013), Veni Sancte Spiritus (2012) and O sacrum convivium (2012) will be released on a CD entitled O Sacrum Convivium on Vox Regis Records on 27 May. The recording is made by The Chapel Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen University (with whom I have a strong working relationship), conducted by David Smith, and features works by Tallis, Stanford and Purcell as well as contemporary pieces. The motets were first performed by the choir. A CD launch will take place as part of the university’s May Festival on 27 May and will feature a performance of O sacrum convivium.
It’s reached that time of the year when I say to myself ‘the next piece I write is going to be polyphonic’ – it happens every year (funnily enough always around Easter time) and every year I labour at trying to do something and every year I duly fail. Why is it so difficult to write polyphonic music? Why do so many contemporary composers (mainly choral composers here, I guess…) just not bother to even try? Why is it important to even attempt to write polyphonic music? I guess there are lots of answers to those questions, some of which may take a little longer to answer then this medium allows. But the main answer, and I may be being a little flippant here, is that polyphonic music is just not in fashion at the moment. And it’s hard to do. But mainly the fashion bit. Read more…
March sees a busy month of premieres and performances. On the 5 March, the Harry Ensemble (conducted by Edward Rhys Harry) will give the premiere of my new motet Veni Sponsa Christi in Reading (they will give further performances in the UK and Norway this year). On the 24 March the Aberdeen University Chamber Choir will give a performance on my motet Ave verum corpus (2008) and the month finishes with the belated premiere of my anthem …He is Risen…(2012) by the Chapel Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen, conducted by David Smith. March will also see the publication by Schott Music of my 2008 motet O salutaris hostia.
It was great to hear my work Invocation (2010) on BBC Radio 3’s The Choir yesterday (in a repeat from last year). The show was dedicated to works for choir and brass and they played the recording from the CD release Phillip Cooke, Choral Music. The show can be heard here (UK only, available until the 9 February).
2015 was another busy year for me, with more performances, publications, commissions and broadcasts. The highlight of the year would have to be the premiere of Noah’s Fire in Chester Cathedral in November – the work had been three years in the planning and the composition and the performance, with 300 performers on stage and 600 in the audience, was quite overwhelming. Other highlights included Invocation and There is no rose both being broadcast on national radio (as well as an interview with me), There is no rose being published and The Eternal Ecstasy being released on CD (and making the top 10 of the classical charts). The year finished with a bang with multiple performances across the country in the festive period. 2016 will be mainly focused on The Music of James MacMillan during which I hope to have written the lion’s share, but there will also be some new works and three CDs being released featuring my works. All the best for 2016! PAC