Following a busy November, December carries on in a similar fashion. The University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir will perform There is no rose (2013) at the university carol service in London at Marylebone Parish Church on the 1st. On the 5th the Merbecke Choir will perform the same work in their carol service at Southwark Cathedral, conducted by Huw Morgan. On the same day the Northern Spirit Singers will give the UK premiere of O salutaris Hostia (2008) in Durham, conducted by Clare Wills. There are further performances of There is no rose at St Paul’s, Covent Garden on the 13th and in Glasgow from the Glasgow Chamber Choir on the 10th and 18th.
There is a short section on By Reason of Darkness on a recent episode of ‘Classics Unwrapped’ on BBC Scotland. I’m interviewed about the work, and what it was like working with a community choir. There are also interviews with festival chairman Pete Stolley, and conductor Kathleen Cronie. The interview can be heard here, from 43.58 onwards (available until the 8 December 2015).
An exciting month of performances and premieres will take place this month across the country. The Chapel Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen will give the premiere of my new anthem The Souls of the Righteous in the University Remembrance Service on the 8th. This will be followed by the premiere of my oratorio Noah’s Fire in Chester Cathedral on the 21st. The month finishes with the premiere of a new piece The World on Fire by the Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford on the 28th. And the Glasgow Chamber Choir will also give two advent performances of There is no rose – busy times!
There have been some nice reviews of the recent première of By Reason of Darkness in the Scottish national newspapers. The piece was recently reviewed in The Scotsman which called the work ‘highly effective…powerful and atmospheric’. This was followed in The Herald which stated : ‘this was no ordinary choral work…an irresistible atmosphere created by the music’. I’ll take that…
I have recently finished a couple of new works for forthcoming performance. The most substantial is the piece By Reason of Darkness for community choir and tubular bells, setting sections of Job and G S Fraser. An off-shoot from this is the short work for SATB, Hometown Fragments which again sets Fraser and will form part of a ‘sonic walk’ through Aberdeen on the 7/8 November. There is also a new anthem, The Souls of the Righteous for SATB and organ which will be premièred in Aberdeen on the 4 November. I have uploaded recent recordings of performances of Hometown Fragments and my work for choir and saxophone, Woman! Behold Thy Son! which was performed by Siglo de oro in July.
A busy Autumn will begin soon with performances taking place across the country. The wonderful choir of St Bride’s, Fleet Street, will perform my first setting of the Evening Service (2009) on the 20 September, conducted by Robert Jones. The world premiere of my work for community choir By Reason of Darkness (2015) will open the 2015 Sound Festival in Aberdeen on the 22 October. This will be followed shortly afterwards with a new setting of The Souls of the Righteous (2015) for the Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen University. November the 21st will see the most important premiere of the year, with Noah’s Fire (2015) being premiered in Chester Cathedral by the Chester Music Society Choir and Liverpool Sinfonia coducted by Graham Jordan Ellis. November finishes with two Advent performances of There is no rose (2013) performed by the Glasgow Chamber Choir, conducted by Michael Bawtree.
The recent CD by Selwyn College Choir The Eternal Ecstasy (including my work of the same name) has reached the lofty position of number 8 in the specialist music charts for the week beginning the 8 August. Huge congratulations to all involved.
Organist Ed Jones will perform my short organ works Elegy (2003) and Praeludium (2013) at Carlisle Cathedral during evensong tonight. Ed (who is a recent PhD graduate at Aberdeen University and Assistant Director of Music at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Aberdeen) will shortly begin the position of Organ Scholar at Blackburn Cathedral.
It was nice to see this week that the new CD The Eternal Ecstasy (which features my motet of the same name) by the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge is Classic FM Album of the Week. The review on the website (which can be viewed here) calls the recording ‘timeless, spacious and rapturous’ and the performance ‘sublime’. The webpage also has a nice section about my work and features a YouTube video of the first performance.
My carol There is no rose (2013) will be published later this month in a wonderful new collection of contemporary carols entitled En Bethlehem. The collection is published by Cadenza Music and features pieces by many leading composers including Paweł Łukaszewski, Cecilia McDowell, Phil Cashian and seventeen others. A recording is planned for the near future.