Music for unaccompanied choir

SATB

Ivy, Chief of Trees it is (2019) – 2’30

A carol for Granta Chorale to be premiered at their concert A Christmas Garland in Corpus Christi College Cambridge on 12th December. There is a rich medieval tradition of texts discussing the merits of holly or ivy, or pitching the two against each other in a contest; this anonymous 15th-century text clearly favours ivy. The musical setting is very simple, with a repeated choral refrain and brief verses for pairs of soloists.

Dance The Seven Seas (2018) – 4′

A celebration of the colours, flavours and sounds of the sea, this piece was commissioned by Caritas Chamber Choir for their concert in aid of the RNLI, and was premiered on 29th September in Ramsgate. Words are by the composer. You can hear an extract of the first performance below.

Haec Dies (2018) – 4’10’’

Caritas Chamber Choir commissioned this setting of an Easter text for their tour to Sweden, where they sang it twice, in Gothenburg and in Helsingborg. The music is inspired by celebratory brass fanfares, and has two aleatoric sections in free time. This live video is of the full concert in Gothenburg; Haec Dies begins at about 21 minutes in.

Sicut Cervus (2018) – 4’30’’

Sample PDF (pages 1-3)

Buckfast Abbey commemorated a thousand years since their foundation with a composition competition, and this setting of Sicut Cervus was shortlisted. The music references church modes and monastic chant to reflect the long history of the abbey. It received its first performance in April 2018, alongside the other finalists’ pieces, and a new commission by Matthew Martin.

Prayer of Richard Rolle (2018) – 3’

Written for Ripon Cathedral’s New Music Week, this piece was premiered in the sermon on 13th May to open the week’s focus on new sacred compositions. The words by Richard Rolle talk about music as a form of divine revelation.

Ave Maria (2017) – 4’

Caritas Chamber Choir commissioned this Ave Maria for their Christmas concert in 2017, and have performed it several times since. All voice parts are divided, and the upper and lower voices are frequently treated as two separate choirs.

Come Queen of Months (2017) – 4’30’’

John Clare’s Shepherd’s Calendar takes the reader through the twelve months of the year; here the opening of the text for May is set for SATB with several divisi. Clare describes the sounds of the season, including birdsong, crickets, bees and ‘childhood’s humming joys’, all of which are painted musically.

Factus Est Repente (2016) – 3’30’’

This Pentecost motet portrays two contrasting feelings the apostles might have felt in the biblical account of the descent of the Holy Spirit: breathless excitement and shocked reverence. The opening excited rhythmic material alternates with an awed, hushed ‘alleluia’ refrain.  The alleluia sections get longer, louder and slightly faster each time they occur, while successive energetic sections build up to the last iteration, a rhythmically offset ‘chattering’ reflecting the apostles speaking in many tongues. Finally a climactic alleluia closes the piece and in the last four bars the two separate musical ideas are combined at last.

Fitzwilliam College Chapel Choir gave the première in 2016, and in 2017 Granta Chorale performed it twice, first in Ely Cathedral Lady Chapel, and then in Saffron Hall. In 2018 it was selected for performance in Bayswater on 20th May as part of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music.

Videntes Stellam (2015) – 3’

This atmospheric motet describes the arrival of the magi at the nativity and is appropriate for Christmas and Epiphany. Granta Chorale gave the first performance of Videntes Stellam in 2015 at a concert in St Mark’s, Newnham.

The Angel Gabriel (2012) – 3’30

This setting of Sabine Baring-Gould’s words won the senior category of Saffron Walden Choral Society’s Carol Competition in 2012, and was performed in the concert The Spirit of Christmas.

Upper voices

Dormi, Jesu (2017) – 2’

The first performance of this lullaby took place in the chapel of St John’s College, Cambridge, sung by the upper voices of Granta Chorale. The piece is constructed from irregularly overlapping simple melodic fragments accompanying a main melody sung in octaves. This recording is from the second performance in Great Chesterford.

Adam lay ybounden (2015) – 1’30’’

This setting was written for Voices of Newnham, who premièred it in Newnham’s Music of the Festive Season concert in 2015. The following year, it was chosen through Dulciana Vocal Ensemble’s Call for Scores, and performed by them in Dublin.