Preces and Responses
St Pancras Responses (2019)
These responses were commissioned by Christopher Batchelor for the 2019 London Festival of Contemporary Church Music. They were premiered live on BBC Radio 3 in Choral Evensong from St Pancras alongside other festival commissions by Deborah Pritchard, Bernard Hughes, Joshua Ballance and Alex Woolf.
Fitzwilliam Responses (2017)
These responses were written for the chapel choir of Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, and were performed in the 2017 London Festival of Contemporary Church Music sung by the festival choir in St Pancras, directed by Christopher Batchelor.
The Fitzwilliam Service (2017) – SATB with organ / SSA with organ
The chapel choir of Fitzwilliam College Cambridge commissioned this Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis originally for upper voices; they were reworked for SATB to sung by the whole choir on tour in Truro Cathedral. The recordings below are of the SATB version sung by the chapel choir of Selwyn College under Sarah MacDonald in October 2019:
The following recordings are of the upper voices version as heard in the first performance by the chapel choir of Fitzwilliam College:
Pieces suitable as anthems / introits
My eyes for beauty pine (2021) – 2′
A simple setting of the poem by Robert Bridges, for SATB with no divisi. Suitable as an introit or brief anthem, possibly to be sung by a quartet. The piece opens with a two-part texture for upper voices, echoed by the lower voices, before opening into a fuller texture for the final verse.
O Lord, Support Us (2020) – 3′
This piece won the inaugural Jesus College Composition Competition in March 2020. The text is a prayer by John Henry Newman:
O Lord, support us all the day long of this troublous life, until the shades lengthen and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over and our work is done; then Lord, in thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen.
It will be premiered by the college’s choirs in the autumn.
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. Haec Dies features in Caritas’s CD, A Caritas Collection, Vol. Two.
Sicut Cervus (2018) – 4’30’’
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.
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.