The video made during the NYCGB Training Choir Summer School in August has now been launched on the choir’s YouTube channel. Conductor Greg Beardsell and virtuoso percussionists O Duo worked with the young singers to perform and record Janet’s setting of words by John Taylor, exploring the infinite variety of what the human mind can do. Gramophone Magazine made it their Video of the Day on 16th October 2018. You can watch the video here. To read John Taylor’s great libretto, turn the captions on.
Janet was delighted to be commissioned by the organisers of the inaugural LICCC to write the set test piece for the competition. The invitation presented a hugely exciting opportunity to set a wonderful new text by renowned librettist Euan Tait. The poem beautifully draws the parallel between the singer’s experience of choral music and our common human experience of life’s trajectory from beginning to end. A strong international field of six finalists will conduct the combined forces of chamber choirs Chantage, Coro and FREIA at the Duke’s Hall, Royal Academy of Music on Sunday 21st October. Each of the finalists will conduct the piece during the evening – an unusual experience for a composer to have six performances of the same piece in one concert!
Janet’s new commission for NYCGB and O Duo, setting a text by John Taylor, was sung in the final concert at their Training Choir’s residential course at Giggleswick School in Yorkshire. Written for double SATB and percussion duo, the piece considers the extraordinary range of the human mind; from astrophysics to sublime poetry and music, the mind encompasses it all. Course director Greg Beardsell said afterwards: The singers’ positive response to ‘Imagine It’ was testament to its brilliance as a choral work for this group – challenging, colourful, imaginative! It was wonderful too, to work with O uo, an outstanding pair of musicians. Imagine It! is the chosen piece for summer’s new NYCGB YouTube video. Professional filmmakers Webb Street Studios worked with the choir and O Duo to create a dramatic production which will be released on NYCGB’s YouTube channel shortly.
For the Centenary celebration of the Newnham College Roll, Janet composed Better is Wisdom. She co-wrote the text with fellow Newnham College alumna Deborah Chancellor, basing it around the text of the magnificent embroidered banner which was carried during many suffrage marches during years of campaigning for the vote. The piece for SSAA choir and piano was premièred very successfully by a choir of Newnham Alumnae conducted by Janet and accompanied by Janet’s daughter Sarah Cattley – herself also a Newnham alumna. The piece combines an energetic refrain (“Better is Wisdom than weapons of war”) with more reflective sections inspired by the beautiful college gardens and their place in the affections of the students, past, present and future. Pictured: Janet and Deborah with the banner, embroidered by students from Newnham and Girton Colleges.
For a roundup of the latest from MazeMusic, please click the link for the March Newsletter