Janet Wheeler
   
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A masterpiece of word setting, vocal colour and orchestration

"The Ceaseless Round of Circling Planets" – Saffron Walden Choral Society, Thaxted Festival

"For me the highlight of the evening was Janet Wheeler’s The Ceaseless Round of Circling Planets. This was a masterpiece of word setting, vocal colour and orchestration. Highly structured and imaginative, using a range of creative and inspired new sounds alongside earlier plainsong and a hymn tune by Orlando Gibbons, The Ceaseless Round of Circling Planets captured the singers and their audience fully. Janet Wheeler pays homage to an array of English composers and this work both celebrates and expands this rich heritage. This was a fitting premiere for the Thaxted Festival’s 100th anniversary. Janet’s music warrants higher recognition and this was no exception."

Dr. Colin Durrant
C
onductor University of London Chamber Choir & Imperial College Choir

 

Inventive “Sonnet 8 (Music to Hear)"

" and an inventive Sonnet 8 [Music to Hear] from Janet Wheeler, ending, sublimely, with a choral sigh"

Michael Gray

Michael Gray’s Blogspot

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Magical "On the Breath of the Sky"

“"It really was magical to hear Bethany and the youth choir singing On the Breath of the Sky.
  Refreshing in every way!"

Hannah Green
Tyalgum Press (Will Todd's music)


“"Janet Wheeler's Responses combine a very individual harmonic language with a sensitive avoidance of the obvious. Her music matches the texts very well, and whilst being broadly tonal, it is pleasingly dissonant, without creating gratuitous difficulties for the performers"

Adrian Partington
Director of Music Gloucester Cathedral

 

Magnificent Magnificat

"St Mary's Church Saffron Walden hosted the première of an inspiring and significant addition to the 21st century choral repertoire last Saturday... "

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Magnificent Magnificat

St Mary's Church Saffron Walden hosted the première of an inspiring and significant addition to the 21st century choral repertoire last Saturday. Sung by the accomplished Granta Chorale with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble and conducted by the composer, Janet Wheeler's setting of the Magnificat cum Angelis not only provided both challenge for the singers and instrumentalists, but also a plethora of imaginative melodies and intoxicating rhythms to entice the listener. All this was contained within a highly structured musical form, influenced by the sacred Latin as well as some extra vernacular texts, by Middle Eastern dance percussion and by the structure of DNA (demonstrated by the way in which the music forms and reforms itself through the generations, according to the programme note). Wheeler has a keen ear for colour and timbre and I was able to recall similar musical elements in the Church Parables of Benjamin Britten that clearly have impacted on her work. Janet Wheeler is a talented composer – her compositions and this fine Magnificat cum Angelis in particular deserve wider recognition.

Colin Durrant
Conductor University of London Chamber Choir and Imperial College Choir

 
   
   
 

“"Janet Wheeler is a composer who really understands singers and makes them feel special and important. She creates music that is both challenging and achievable, and effortlessly emotive yet uniquely new."

James Davey
Choral Director

“The music on this CD is delightful and highly singable. Janet’s settings create an atmosphere around the texts she chooses such that the drama and excitement of the words always come through. Her music embraces the text with great conviction. Her harmonic textures vary from quite sparse to very lush, which is a joy. There is something here to suit choirs of all abilities and sizes.”

Will Todd
Composer

"Britten Sinfonia had the pleasure of giving the premiere of "MAZE" with the Saffron Walden Choral Society in a Music Nation event last year. The impressive new work, composed by the society's Musical Director Janet Wheeler, was a real test for any choir and SWCS gave a typically spirited and assured performance making for a memorable evening for everyone involved".

David Butcher
CEO Britten Sinfonia


“Janet Wheeler's choral music is cleverly crafted with a keen sense of poetry and insight into the poet's intent, alongside a complete understanding of the choral voice and its potential in both small and large choir contexts. She uses colour and texture effectively so that her music reflects and adds to text rather than distracts from it. Janet has managed to capture a musical style that is inventive, challenging and rewarding to sing.”

Dr Colin Durrant
Conductor University of London Chamber Choir & Imperial College Choir


“I am a long time admirer of Janet Wheeler's work. I directed Stevie's Pets a number of times in their original form. It was marvellous to hear them again, slightly reworked, on this impressive CD. Other content reflects her wonderful grasp of contrasting moods and textures. There is the choral agility of Clock-a-Clay with the melting beauty of With love alone to dwell - both within her beautifully balanced John Clare settings Time becomes a song. The CD highlight for me, though, has to be the misty, smoky Dusk falls, from Train in the rain...The combination of voices, jazz trio and blues overtones is quite magical.”

Jeffrey Wynn Davies
MD Canzonetta Chamber Choir and Cranleigh Choral Week


"Janet Wheeler's Time becomes a song comprises five varied and characterful audience-friendly settings, showing a convincing relationship with language coupled with an effective command of choral textures."

Alan Bullard -
Composer


“I loved A place in the choir. What a great first half finisher. It put a smile on my face."

Bethany Halliday

Solo soprano


"Its up-beat style coupled with a sensitivity to the text means it sits as well in a summer concert of part-songs and spirituals as in Evensong"

Andrew Parnell
Conductor Ely Choral Society and Cambridgeshire Choral Society


Janet Wheeler directed the singers in two of her own pieces. "Alleluia I Heard a Voice" should surely find a place in contemporary choral repertoires both at home and in America. "Homage to Albright" was especially successful, mixing choral improvisation based on written out fragments with spatial separation of sections of the choir - a real surround-sound performance!

David Parry-Smith
Organist and choral director


Wonderful singing last night, with many gorgeous 'early music' Alleluias, but for SWEM, paradoxically, the highlight was Janet Wheeler's very 21st century setting of 'Alleluia I heard a Voice'. Marvellous and mesmerising.

Donna Sharp
Saffron Walden Early Music


‘Janet Wheeler’s SEA TONGUE is a child of the crossing-place where earth and ocean meet and argue.  Heaving and leaping and caressing, it’s a thrilling and often moving secular oratorio –  always attentive to the words it sets, colourfully orchestrated, and within reach of amateur choirs and choral societies.’

Kevin Crossley-Holland
Poet and Writer


"I was very excited when Janet asked me to be the baritone soloist in the first performance of Sea Tongue - I was intrigued by the story and delighted to be asked to play a Sea-God! The drama of the text is echoed in Janet's setting and the solo part offered terrific opportunity for characterisation and colour, something I am always pleased to be able to do. I hope it is a piece that will become part of choral society repertoire."

Edward Price
Baritone Soloist


“I only recently discovered Janet Wheeler's choral music and found it immediately appealing and well written.  Her Song Cycle Time Becomes a Song for a cappella choir is challenging but very rewarding to sing.“

Nigel Perrin,
Choral Director

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