Ivy, Chief of Trees It Is was written for Granta Chorale’s 2019/20 Christmas concerts to fit with this year’s theme, A Christmas Garland. The first performance was in the chapel of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge on 12th December, alongside lots more music about Christmas greenery. The programme included seasonal favourites by Rutter, Britten, Warlock and Henry VIII (!) (Green Grow’th the Holly) and newer works by Janet Wheeler (including The Christmas Life and God Bless You Brother) and Andrew Bruce (There is No Rose). The concert will be repeated on 3rd January in Newport, and the collections from both concerts will go to Jimmy’s, a charity supporting the homeless in Cambridge.
The two winning pieces of the National Centre for Early Music’s Young Composer Award 2019 were broadcast on Radio 3 on 24th November on The Early Music Show. Sarah’s Dream Fever and Derri Joseph Lewis’s Walls of Brass were performed by virtuoso viol player Liam Byrne alongside 17th- and 18th-century music by Marin Marais and Carl Friedrich Abel.
Sarah’s Fitzwilliam Service was the canticles setting in evensong sung by the chapel choir of Selwyn College Cambridge on Tuesday. A recording of their beautiful performance is available to listen to on this page.
Ely Cathedral Girls Choir sang Sarah’s Fitzwilliam Service in evensong on Wednesday, conducted by Sarah MacDonald and with Aaron Shilson at the organ. This was the second performance of the canticles in their original upper voices version. Sarah MacDonald will be conducting the Fitzwilliam Service again next week when it is sung by the choir of Selwyn College.
Sarah’s piece Four Seascapes has been shortlisted for Yorkshire Late Starters Strings‘ New Music Commission 2019-20. The four shortlisted pieces will be played by the orchestra on 27th October in a workshop with conductor Stuart Hazelton and composer Howard Skempton. Howard Skempton will also be giving shortlisted composers a tutorial session on their pieces.
Sarah’s setting of Andrew Lang’s poem Ballade of True Wisdom was premiered in Lamlash, on Arran, on 26th August in a celebration of a Pearl Wedding anniversary and a 21st birthday. It was commissioned specially to be sung at the event by a scratch choir. The poem argues that all one really needs to be happy is ‘a house full of books, and a garden of flowers’.
The chapel choir of University College Oxford, conducted by Giles Underwood, sang Sarah’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in evensong on Sunday. The setting was originally written for the upper voices of Fitzwilliam College Cambridge and later adapted for mixed choir; this was its Oxford premiere.
Sarah’s piece Dream Fever for bass viol and electronics was named joint winner of the National Centre for Early Music’s Young Composers Award 2019, alongside Derri Joseph Lewis’s piece Walls Of Brass. The two pieces will both be performed again by virtuoso viol player Liam Byrne on October 12th at Glitch in Bristol. The performance will be recorded for broadcast on Radio 3’s Early Music Show.
Sarah is thrilled to have been commissioned to write a set of responses for the 2019 London Festival of Contemporary Church Music. Her St Pancras Responses will be premiered live on Radio 3 in Choral Evensong from St Pancras in a service of all-new music on 15th May.
The challenge for this year’s National Centre for Early Music Young Composers Award was to write a fantasy for bass viol and electronics to be played by virtuoso viol player Liam Byrne. Sarah’s piece Dream Fever has been shortlisted and will be workshopped and performed on 8th and 9th May in York. The music aims to portray the feeling of drifting into and suddenly waking out of a feverish hallucinatory dream. Sarah is very excited to be returning to the award after her The Basilica Remembers A Maestro was shortlisted last year.