Commission for the inaugural London International Choral Conducting Competition: The Cries of Music

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!

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By Thee I Will Abide

As part of Granta Chorale’s concert O Radiant Dawn, Granta Chorale will give the premiere of By Thee I Will Abide. With a Psalm-based text, this begins with a troubled and anguished plea for mercy. Then at the resolution ‘By Thee I will Abide’ a soothing lullaby combines a repeating mantra-like accompaniment with weaving canonic lines over the top. Two canons then combine and gradually subside to a peaceful ending. First performance in Ely Cathedral Lady Chapel April 22nd 2017 The piece will also be performed by Granta Chorale in Saffron Hall on May 14th as part of their programme of Motets from Bach to MacMillan. Both concerts also include Alleluia I Heard a Voice

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Everyone Sang – new commission by Farnham Youth Choir

Conductor Joanna Tomlinson has commissioned this setting of First World War poet Siegfred Sassoon’s most famous poem for Farnham Youth Choir. The poem encompasses a joyful reaction to the end of the war and perhaps too the way that an outbreak of singing in the trenches had banished the horror. The setting develops ideas inspired by the poem’s sudden universal joy and bird imagery and its recurring main theme repeats and dies away to the end with the sustained conviction that “the singing will never be done”. This concert on March 22nd is part of Farnham Festival 2017.

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I Sing and Ever Shall – new commission by Southampton Philharmonic Choir

Written for baritone soloist, mixed chorus and orchestra, this is a joyful celebration of singing. Words by Emily Dickinson, Rabindranath Tagore, Sara Teasdale and Abraham Cowley in their differing ways all examine the special powers and attributes of singing. In amongst them comes an energetic dance movement sung entirely to nonsense syllables inspired by Scottish mouth music and vocal exercises. The finale sets a poem by Robert Herrick and builds to a climactic conclusion on the words of the title ‘I Sing and Ever Shall’, a confident assertion for any choir to embrace.

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