2020 Highlights at Choral Connections
Malcolm Archer joined the team in January, allowing us to expand our offerings for Church choirs and musicians. Malcolm has had a distinguished career in Church music, holding the posts of Organist and Director of Music at Bristol, Wells, and St Paul’s Cathedrals, and, for 11 years, Director of Chapel Music at Winchester College. For those of you planning Christmas concerts and services, do listen to the sampler CD we’ve created of Malcolm Archer’s carols.
This year Malcolm is offering Church choirs an opportunity to commission a new introit to mark their return to singing AND will donate 20% of the £1000 commission fee towards Covid research.
- Request a CD from firstname.lastname@example.org
- View the booklet
- Hear the tracks on Soundcloud
- Visit Malcolm’s website
Jessica Curry has been honoured with many awards including a BASCA for her music for computer games, much of it choral and forming an exciting new catalogue available as concert music via Faber Music. Recent collaborations have been with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, BBC Singers, London Oriana Choir, and Crouch End Festival Chorus, for whom she has recently completed a commission for choir and orchestra. We started to work with Jessica and her publisher in July.
Request sample copies and audio tracks from
Paul Carr is published by Goodmusic Publishing. Best known for his Requiem for an Angel (widely championed by Classic FM) he has an extensive catalogue of sacred and secular music for all occasions. His new works for choir and instrumental ensemble include Four New Seasons, a co-commission from three British and one American choirs in which he re-imagines Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and Into the Light, celebrating the 1000th anniversary of the founding of the Benedictine Abbey in Bury St Edmunds. Two further commissions set texts by British poet Euan Tait in The Light of Love and Gathered Together.
Jonathan Rathbone has spent the last few months working closely with his choirs. A skilled arranger as well as a gifted composer, he has presented his singers with an online programme of learning materials for some of his new arrangements of music for virtual performance. New in print from Hal Leonard are SATB choral settings in the pop and rock genre, including Downtown, Another brick in the wall, As (Stevie Wonder), Georgia, Bridge over troubled water, Love of my life, Once you lose your heart, Vincent (Starry, starry night), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The windmills of your mind. Other arrangements are published by Peters Edition in the Kikapust imprint.
Purchase copies of the new Hal Leonard titles through Presto
Watch YouTube videos of performances of Jonathan’s music – this one is Voces8 performing The Oxen https://youtu.be/d5zCQvLZ4j8.
Alan Bullard’s music has been included in a number of virtual concerts this year, including the first broadcasts of This is the key and Song to the moon in the Scunthorpe Co-operative Junior Choir’s virtual leavers’ ceremony and Mind the Gap! by the Bromley Youth Music Trust. He has written and recorded a short piece called Rainbow, for SATB choir, and uploaded blogs and recordings of his works, including Now the green blade riseth, Images of Peace, the Colchester Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, and God in mine eternity.
- Read, watch, and listen to Alan’s first lockdown blog
Read, watch and listen to his second lockdown blog
- Revisit Wondrous Cross and O Come Emmanuel by requesting copies of the CDs from email@example.com
Philip Moore has spent the last few months putting together a brand new website. It is still a work in progress, but for the first time his extensive catalogue is available to view online. On 12 September his O clap your hands is included in The Queen’s Six’s first online concert, Journeys to the New World. Philip will be speaking to the audience about the piece, and his relationship with the group.
Francis Pott’s newest CD has been released on Naxos. Recorded in 2019 in Keble College Chapel, Oxford, At First Light is another critically acclaimed disc by top English chamber choir, Commotio, conducted by Matthew Berry, singing two extended choral works, Word (with organist Christian Wilson) and At First Light (with cellist Joseph Spooner). Both scores are published by Peters Edition. Another highlight of the last few months was the Three Choirs Premières League, a light-hearted competition over social media exploring the commissions made by the Three Choirs Festival. The winner, announced on 1 August, was Francis’ 1999 commission A song on the end of the world. In a rather lovely connection, the first performance of that work was conducted by Adrian Lucas who 20 years later produced At First Light.
Tom Winpenny is the third organist to record Francis’ organ cantata Christus; recording took place at St Albans Cathedral at the end of August.
- Explore At First Light online
- The Three Choirs league is announced here
- Francis’ own website, including a full catalogue and links to notes
- Last year’s pre-recording performance of Christus
Cecilia McDowall has delivered scores to two Scottish commissioners over the Summer. She is one of ten composers in the Glasgow School of Art Choir’s Composeher commission programme, and has set a text compiled by Sean Street on the inspirational American nurse, Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. Prior to that, working with the same poet, she set a text for a BBC Singers commission celebrating seven women composers, which pays tribute to Rosalind Franklin, chemist and crystallographer, called Photo 51. The photo was an x-ray of the double helix, the pre-cursor to the early findings of DNA. More recently she completed a blessing to be sung at the graduation ceremonies of the University of Edinburgh, setting an unusual translation of a traditional Gaelic text. An early highlight of the lockdown period was the simultaneous release and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 of the Convivium CD The Girl from Aleppo. In October Bristol Choral Society release their disc on Delphian which includes A Time for all seasons and in November, the Advent carol release by St John’s College, Cambridge on Signum includes A Prayer to John the Baptist.
- The BBC’s Seven Ages of Woman page is here
- Take a look at the ComposeHer website https://composeher.co.uk/
- Download The Girl from Aleppo from Convivium
- Visit Cecilia’s website
Bob Chilcott has continued to work with and for choirs over the last few months, delivering virtual workshops on Zoom with singers from Japan, the USA, and much of Europe, participating in webinars hosted by choral organisations, vocal groups, and choirs, running rehearsal sessions with children’s choirs from as far afield as Adelaide, Australia, and The Philippines, and attending virtual premières and concerts. At home he has been working alongside Signum towards the release of two new CDs, recorded by Houston Chamber Choir and NFM Wroclaw of his Circlesong and Wilfred Owen memorial work Move him into the sun. He has completed a new piece commissioned for next year’s ACDA convention, and has written new songs for Sarah Connolly. He has also embarked on a new Harvest work for the RSCM. Much over the coming months will remain online, but we hope to see some opportunities for a resumption of workshops and concerts. This Christmas he is scheduled to conduct events with the BBC Singers and John Rutter, the Holst Singers, and Huddersfield Choral Society with the Black Dyke Band.
- View the Wigmore Hall première given by Sarah Connolly and Malcolm Martineau on 16 September
- Watch The Queen’s Six Journeys to the New World (including Bob’s arrangement of En la macaranita) on 12 September
- Discover information about the BBC Radio 3 Carol Competition
- Participate in the City of Derry International Choral Festival’s big sing
David Lawrence and the Young Voices team had a virtual Big Sing in June, bringing together singers from across the world to sing Rebecca Lawrence’s Power in Me, always a highlight of the Young Voices concerts. Young Voices is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2021 and hope to field the largest school choir in the year for this exciting anniversary.
- Join David in a virtual warm up and workshop on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppDWfr7ohLQ
- Sign up your school choir for Young Voices 2021
Robert Dean enjoyed a final pre-lockdown workshop in March with Daventry Choral Society on the Brahms Requiem. An expert on many of the large standard repertoire works, and a Professor of Singing and popular conductor, Robert will be once again available for workshops as choirs emerge.
- Read an interview with Robert dating from 2016
- Consider a singing holiday in 2021 – visit Split (Croatia) in April to work with Robert