I am very happy to announce that I have recently been commissioned to write a new oratorio for the Chester Music Society Choir for their 75th anniversary in 2015. The work will be a 40 minute piece for large choir, tenor solo, string orchestra, children’s choir, organ and percussion (performers tbc) and will be premiered in Chester Cathedral in November 2015. The text is yet to be confirmed but will be probably be Advent themed and make use of the Nun’s Song of Chester a well known plainsong from the local area. This is a vey exciting commission as I have been looking to write a large-scale choral/orchestral work for a while and I am indebted to the CMS for their trust and forward-looking in this area.
This month sees the premiere of my new motet The Eternal Ecstasy which will be premiered by the Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge conducted by Sarah MacDonald on Sunday 16 June at Evensong. The work (with a new text by Marcus Tomalin) will also be recorded by the choir in Ely Cathedral towards the end of the month for a disc of the same name on Regent Records. More news on this to follow.
If you happen to be in Aberdeen this Friday (07 June) do come along to hear the excellent Scottish Ensemble perform works by Britten, Shostakovich and Martin Suckling at The Music Hall at 19.30. If you are really keen, do come at 18.45 to hear me give a pre-concert talk entitled ‘Britten and Shostakovich: A Late Friendship’, where I will be briefly exploring the relationship between the two composers and the works featured in the concert. This is the first in a number of talks I will be giving around the country in the next six months including a talk on Howells’s Gloucester Service at the Three Choirs Festival (July) and Britten’s Missa Brevis in Aberdeen in November.
The Scottish premiere of Ave verum corpus (from Three Marian Motets, 2008) will be given this Saturday (11/05/2013) at High Hilton Church, Aberdeen. The piece will be performed by the North East of Scotland’s premiere chamber choir, Con Anima and will be conducted by Paul Mealor. The main piece on the programme will be Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms alongside shorter works by MacMillan, Leighton and Lauridsen.
I was delighted to hear recently that the Choir of Trinty Episcopal Church, Newport, Rhode Island will perform my first setting of the Preces and Responses (2009) tonight in evensong. This is the second choir to perform the work in the USA and I am very excited to hear. For more info click here.
I’ve been getting carried away recently and have made more YouTube videos of some of my scores. Following on from O Salutaris Hostia, I have now made videos of Green, How Clear, How Lovely and I Stood on a Tower from the recent JAM concert and a performance of the Evening Service from 2011. All performances from the wonderful Selwyn College Choir, directed by Sarah MacDonald. To view any of the videos, click on the individual pieces above.
I finally worked out how to make a video of one of my pieces with the score visable as well! It’s a bit rough and ready but it is a start. I’m going to finely hone my video-making techniques over the next couple of months. This performance is O Salutaris Hostia (2008), performed by the Camerata Silesia, conducted by Anna Szostak at The Seminar Church, Częstochowa, Poland on the 03 May 2012 as part of “Gaude Mater” International Festival of Sacred Music 2012.
Although much of 2013 has been taken up with my new job at Aberdeen University (and hanging about at airports) I have managed to finish three new pieces and adapt two others. The new pieces are: O lux beata Trinitas a short motet for SATB for the Aberdeen University Chamber Choir; The Eternal Ecstasy for SSAATTBB for the Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge for their forthcoming recording of the same name on Regent Records and Prelude, Interlude and Epilogue a short piano piece and my contribution to the Powers@60 garland of works written to celebrate the 60th birthday of my former tutor Anthony Powers. I have also made a SATB and organ version of The Hazel Wood (2012) and combined the three partsongs I Stood on a Tower (2008), Green (2012) and How Clear, How Lovely (2010) into a set called, imaginatively, Three Partsongs.
As of March 2013 all of my instrumental, chamber and orchestral works are available to purchase through Arcomis. Here full scores, digital downloads and full sets of parts are available. Check out my works by visiting here.
On Thursday 21 March, the Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, conducted by Nicholas Cleobury will perform my Three Partsongs (2010-12) in a JAM concert at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, London. It will be the first complete performance of this set, and the first performance of Green (2012) the second of the partsongs. It looks like an excellent concert with various other composers associated with JAM including Judith Bingham, Jonathan Dove, Paul Patterson and Paul Mealor. The concert begins at 19.30 and tickets can be bought here.