This is another post (one of a series) about pieces of music I have written. This week it’s the turn of The Little One, which I wrote back in 2009 for the Senior Choir of Dr Challoner’s High School, just up the road in Little Chalfont. It came about after the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge broadcast Advent Calendar on BBC Radio 3 on Advent Sunday, 2008. After that performance I was in touch with the composer John McCabe, who had had his piece The Last and Greatest Herald premiered at the same service. He was very encouraging, saying that he found Advent Calendar ‘gripping and moving’ and that the ‘grasp of harmony and harmonic progression was particularly impressive’. He also suggested perhaps finding local choirs for which to write, and so I got in touch with DCHS, where my wife used to teach. The Senior Choir there was about 45 voices, and so I thought they might enjoy something in more parts than they were used to:
And I’m pleased to say that the girls really enjoyed singing it, which was wonderful. My thanks to their conductor, Jane Partridge, for leading them through it.
Perhaps inspired by John’s setting of the seventeenth-century poet William Drummond, I chose a selection of verses from the poem ‘Christmasse Day’ by Joseph Beaumont (1616–1699). You can listen to the piece here: