Organist Ed Jones will give the premiere of my piece for pedals only Praeludium (2013) at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Aberdeen this Saturday (19 July) in a recital inlcuding works by Bach and Vivaldi. Ed will also give another performance of my early organ work Elegy (2003) at Ely Cathedral during evensong on Friday 08 August. PAC
On Wednesday (14/05) the year of organ music continues with the world premiere of my new work Exsultet commissioned by the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music and performed in this year’s festival by Leon Charles. The service is to be braodcast on BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong and features new works by Anthony Pitts, Roxanna Panufnik and Alexander Campkin. The service is broadcast at 15.30. Exsultet takes the opening words of the Easter Vigil as its inspiration, but more importantly it features a large quotation from a recent pop song – a free CD and a packet of biscuits if anyone recognises it!
It appears performances of organ music are like buses, you wait for one then several turn up at once. Assistant Director of Music at Worksop College (and former Queen’s College Organ Scholar) Charlotte Phillips will perform Elegy (2003) in the College Chapel on Wednesday 07 May at 19.30 in a recital of European Organ Music. There are further performances of Elegy planned later this year.
On Saturday 26 April, the distinguished organist Roger Williams will perform my early organ work Elegy (2003) at Settle Parish Church at 19.30. Roger has commissioned a new organ piece from me, Epitaph (I like cheery organ music…) which he will premiere in Aberdeen in November as part of the Sound Festival 2014. This is the beginning of a busy year of organ music for me, with another premiere in May of a new piece Exsultet as part of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music.
The excellent Chapel Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen University will perform my motet O sacrum convivium in Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday 6 April in the morning service. They will then perform the same motet, alongside two other motets of mine (Veni Sancte Spiritus and O lux beata Trinitas) in an evening concert at St Leonard’s Church, Hythe on the 10 April.
This coming week is an important one for me with various performances and other events. It begins today with a performance of my first setting of the Evening Service (2009) by the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge in evensong in Cambridge tonight (13/03). Selwyn then take the piece to St Paul’s Cathedral in London for evensong there on Monday (17/03). Monday is also the launch of my new CD at Aberdeen University where I will be playing selections of the disc and talking about the recording. On Thursday (20/03) my 2012 work The Hazel Wood will be performed by Selwyn with Onyx Brass and Simon Hogan (organ) at St Bride’s, Fleet Street, London as part of the JAM concert. This concert will also be an unofficial launch concert where I will be giving a pre-concert talk and selling copies of the CD. I then travel to Chester on Saturday (22/03) to hear the Chester Music Society Choir perform the Bach Mass in B Minor – I shall begin writing the new oratorio for the choir later this year. PAC
I am very excited to announce that the first CD of my work will be released on the 14 April 2014. The CD, entitled Phillip Cooke, Choral Music will be released on the Regent Records label and will be available to buy from all good record stores, the Regent Records website and from iTunes. It features 10 pieces of mine from 2008-12 all performed by the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, Tim Parsons (organ) and Onyx Brass – all conducted by Sarah MacDonald. There will be two ‘launch’ events: the first at Aberdeen University on the 17 March where I will be playing selections from the CD and discussing my work (as well as selling CDs…), the second will be at the JAM concert at St Bride’s, Fleet Street in London on the 20 March where Selwyn and Onyx will perform one of the tracks, The Hazel Wood in a concert that also features Paul Mealor’s The Farthest Shore. I will be giving a pre-concert talk before the concert and selling CDs as well.
To be honest, it hasn’t been the most productive second half of the year with various other commitments getting in the way of composing (teaching, moving house, Howells book, new baby…) but I have managed to finish three short choral pieces. The most significant is There is no rose which was written for Aberdeen’s leading chamber choir, Con Anima and performed twice over the Christmas period. Continuing the Advent theme, there is a short setting of the Matin Responsory and a little Wedding gift, Wedding Introit. It was a busy time with premieres and performances, and I have uploaded recordings of Veni Sancte Spiritus (Aberdeen University Chamber Choir, St Asaph Cathedral), O lux Beata Trinitas (King’s College Chapel Choir, Aberdeen, St Machar’s Cathedral), O Sacrum Convivium (ditto) and the Second Service (St Andrew’s Cathedral Choir, Aberdeen, St Andrew’s Cathedral). There is also a live recording of the premiere of the song-cycle Sudden Light by Jeremy Huw Williams performed at this year’s Sound Festival in Aberdeen. More to follow soon. PAC
Autumn is a busy season of premieres and performances for me, with the majority being in my adopted home town of Aberdeen. Many of the performances are by the Chapel Choir of King’s College (the University chapel) who are performing the Three Partsongs and three motets in a concert in the chapel on the 22 November. Prior to this they have given the premiere of two motets in recent services: O lux Beata Trinitas (27/10) and O Sacrum Convivium (03/11) and will give the Scottish premiere of the third, Veni Sancte Spiritus, on Sunday 10 November. Jeremy Huw Williams gave the premiere of my song-cycle Sudden Light as part of the Sound Festival at St Machar’s Cathedral, Aberdeen on the 30 November and on the 11 November the Girl Choristers and Lay clerks of Ely Cathedral will perform my first setting of the Evening Service in evensong in the cathedral. On the 13 November the University New Music Group (conducted by me) will perform three works of mine and two arrangements in the chapel at 17.15. Looking slightly further ahead, the choir of St Andrew’s Cathedral, Aberdeen will give the Scottish premiere of my Second Service on the 4 Decemeber and the Aberdeen based choir Con Anima will perform my new carol, There is no rose, twice, on Saturday 14 December. I should imagine after that, the good people of Aberdeen will be truly sick of my music. PAC
The leading baritone Jeremy Huw Williams will give the world premiere of my new song cycle Sudden Light at St Machar’s Cathedral, Aberdeen on Wednesday 31 October at 13.10. The concert is part of the Sound Festival and contains new works by my colleague Pete Stollery and by Joseph Phibbs. I will be giving a pre-concert talk at 12.30 in the same venue.