News from Swanage.

Dear Festival Chorus

I thought I would update you my progress as a composer, and particularly on the lessons I’m having with Cecilia McDowall, which the Festival Chorus so generously funded as my leaving present. Cecilia and I are meeting roughly once a month, when we look at one or more pieces that I have been writing and she helps me explore ways of strengthening them or pushing them further. The sessions are very useful and practical, and are certainly helping increase the impact of my writing. So many thanks once again to the Festival Chorus for making them possible.

There are a couple of London events coming up where my work will be given exposure, and I wondered whether you might like to tell Festival Chorus members about them.

On Saturday 11 July at 7.30pm in St Gabriel’s, Warwick Square, Pimlico, The Cantus Ensemble are giving a concert featuring music by Benjamin Britten, John Tavener and Paul Mealor. They will also perform pieces shortlisted in their composition competition, which challenged composers to set a text of their own choice selected from the Song of Solomon. My own offering, A garden inclosed is my spouse, is one of the four finalists in the competition. I went to hear the Ensemble rehearse it on Tuesday evening, and it is going to sound magnificent. Unfortunately, I can’t be at the concert myself for the final performance and judging, but maybe some members of the Festival Chorus would be interested in going to hear it and the rest of the programme by this very accomplished young chamber choir. It should be a lovely concert. Tickets are available here.

On Wednesday 29 July at 5pm, a visiting choir from the Netherlands, the Schola Liturgica, will sing Choral Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral, and this will include my setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G. This will be the first performance of the canticles beyond the one I conducted with Quorum and Derek Carden in St Luke’s last year, and I’m thrilled that St Paul’s is the venue. I’m going to be at the service myself and would love to share this special moment with some friends from the Festival Chorus.

Other than these two events, if friends want to keep up with my progress as a composer, they can find more news, material and recordings on my website, where they can also sign up for my regular emailed Newsletter. Each edition of the Newsletter comes with a short piece of music which recipients are allowed to copy for free, as many times as they need for use by their own choirs – so perhaps the Festival Chorus might like to keep an eye on what’s available!

All best wishes for your concert at the weekend



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