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Summer Round Up

September 12th, 2020

I haven’t updated my website for quite a while (five months in fact), this being for two reasons: firstly, as I am in the process of transferring all this information to a new, all-singing-all-dancing website and secondly that not an awful lot has happened in these joyous months of 2020. However, some things have happened since April, so I guess I should do a sort of round up. Not many performances to mention, plenty of cancellations and rearrangements, but very little live music. However, one short piece I wrote for the pianist Duncan Honeybourne has been performed online, recorded and will be premiered and released on CD in October. This is a short ‘deconstruction’ of the English folk tune The Turtledove which was my contribution to Duncan’s ‘Contemporary Soundbites’ project that featured short pieces written during lockdown. It forms part of a small collection called Three Folksongs that also features two other arrangements that have been performed this year. The piece will be released on the Prima Facie label very soon. As well as the piano, I’ve been writing for the organ with, two hymn-tune preludes I composed late last year recently being released in a collection of new organ pieces by Oxford University Press, alongside works by several leading composers.

I finished an exciting work for baritone, choir, two pianos and two percussion in July, this will hopefully have its (delayed) premiere in October 2021. As I enjoyed writing it so much, I arranged it for choir and orchestra as well. Not sure that will ever be performed! It was nice to hear Ave Maria, mater Dei on Australian national radio, and I dusted off some Howells knowledge to give an online presentation to various choirs in July. On other fronts, MacMillan Studies was publised by Cambridge University Press in August and is the second major publication on MacMillan’s work – I wrote a chapter on the liturgical music. My own The Music of James MacMillan got another good review, this time in the journal Music & Letters. And finishing off the MacMillan stuff, I wrote the liner notes on a new CD of his organ music which was released this month on the Resonus label. I think that is it. I’m trying to write some piano music, but largely failing. Hopefully that might materialise soon…

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