Tag Archives: organ

Christmas performances this week

Anna’s carol From Flanders, commemorating 100 years since the First World War Christmas truce, will be performed by Exeter Philharmonic Choir in two concerts at Exeter Cathedral this week. The programme will feature carols old and new and a chance for some audience participation with the classics.

Wednesday 10th and 11th December, 7:30pm, tickets available from www.ticketsource.co.uk/exeterphilchoir or on the door.

Carols2014

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Time to start planning for Christmas!

Thinking about what to sing in your Christmas concerts and services this year? In the centenary year of the start of the First World War, sheet music of the new Christmas carol From Flanders is now available to buy online from Recital Music or Spartan Press.

From Flanders scoresFrederick Niven’s poem tells the story of Christmas in 1914. On Christmas Day, a truce was spontaneously enacted by the two sides fighting in Flanders in World War One. This was five months into the war, which until this point many in Britain had confidently believed would be over by that time. When the two sides lay down their weapons in the name of humanity and met in the middle of no-man’s-land, they would not have realised the bloodshed that was to come as the war dragged on for a further four years – a conflict so atrocious that it came to be known as ‘the war to end all wars’.

This carol conveys the unknowing innocence of those men and the joy of Christmas, yet explores the sinister context in which they met and the future which was to come. Ultimately, the events of the 1914 Christmas truce came to symbolise the universality of hope and peace at Christmas. This carol brings this message into the twenty-first century.

Performances have already been confirmed by Exeter Philharmonic Choir and the choir of St. Paul’s Church, Wokingham.

A Carol from Flanders published – available soon

Great news: A Carol From Flanders is to be published by Recital Music and will soon be available for purchase. The work, for SATB choir and organ, has been written especially for the centenary of the First World War ‘Christmas Truce’ which famously took place on Christmas Day 1914. If you are starting to think about planning the winter concert programmes for your choir or choral society, this carol would be the perfect way to mark one hundred years since the outbreak of WW1. Do get in touch for more information, as we can provide audio and score samples before you buy, or visit Recital Music.

Christmas Day Football

New: Carmichael setting for double choir

Waverley Turner Carmichael was an African-American poet born in Alabama in the late 19th century. His poem ‘Keep me, Jesus, keep me’ has an attractive
call-and-response structure which lends itself ideally to song and particularly to a setting for double choir. Indeed, a collection of Carmichael’s poems was published in 1918 under the title, “From the Heart of a Folk: A Book of Songs”.

 The repetitive use of language in this poem is almost meditative. This new setting reflects this in the serenity of the majority of the music: openly spaced harmonies, calmly lilting time signatures and frequent pauses to hear the voices resonate and fade. In this respect, the work is particularly suited to cathedral performance. The same music is used to set the two strophes, with recurrence of the line, “Keep me, Jesus, keep me,” forming an imploring refrain. Preview the score.Carmichael's "From the heart of a folk"

Choir & Organ magazine feature

I am the featured ‘New Music’ composer in the current issue of Choir & Organ magazine (Sept/Oct 2011). You can read their interview with me about how I came to composition, the challenges I have overcome, how I write and what it means to me.

Even better, for the next six months, Come Unto Me is published on the Choir & Organ magazine website and you can download it for free. Click here to download the score. You can also download composer’s notes. [07.08.2012 update: the score is no longer available to download from Choir & Organ. Please contact the composer if you would like to purchase the sheet music.]

I’d love to hear your feedback on both the article and the music – and do let me know if you plan to sing it with your choir!

Missed the BBC broadcast?

Hear  Hast thou not known? and an interview with the composer (moi!) on Aled Jones’ Radio 3 programme The Choir, on the BBC iPlayer for 7 days from today: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b011ty04/The_Choir_King_James_Bible_Composer_Awards/ – 23 minutes in.

In other news, the latest commission, Come unto me, is very nearly finished. I completed the last section on Saturday and have a couple of days left to make any final edits and do all the ‘tidying’ and checking – accidentals, lyrics, layout, etc. A different style to the celebratory Hast thou not known?, it is a calm and gentle setting (mostly!) written for a capella SATB choir.

BBC Radio 3 broadcast confirmed – and change of date

In the midst of scribbling away for my Choir & Organ magazine commission, I have received confirmation that all of the pieces from the finals of the King James Bible competition will be broadcast by the BBC. The date has changed though. Tune into Radio 3’s ‘The Choir’ on Sunday 12th June, 6:30-8:00pm:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011ty04