Archive

We Love Endpapers

We Love Endpapers

15th January 2021

Workwise, this past year has really been a case of making it through. So it’s been really heartening to see another creation of mine, the Facebook group We Love Endpapers thrive. Set it up in May 2016, and the subject of an article in The Guardian a couple of years ago, it now has almost […]

Magi viderunt stellam

Magi viderunt stellam

6th January 2021

As today is Epiphany, I thought I’d share another piece of mine, an experiment in using a cantus firmus within a modern musical idiom, from 2007. The chant itself comes from a setting by the Portuguese Renaissance composer Pedro de Cristo (1545/50–1618), which I decided to pair with words from Lancelot Andrewes’ Christmas sermon for […]

Three little hazel twigs

Three little hazel twigs

17th December 2020

I was recently reminded about the German tradition of the Barbarazweig, and thought I’d share a short Advent piece by Hugo Distler (1908–1942) which I translated some years ago: I first sang it back in December 1995, when I was living in Germany, and found it quite charming. Distler’s work is little known in the […]

Letters from Wetzlar

Letters from Wetzlar

9th December 2020

The preface to this little book from 1821, by Major James Bell of the East York Militia, reads: ‘The Letters which I am about to lay before the public, form all together but one small leaf in the history of literature; but it is a leaf which relates to the leading era in the life […]

Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams

26th November 2020

This Sunday is Advent Sunday, a day which marks an important step in my composing. As I wrote back in the summer, I wrote my setting of Rowan Williams‘ poem ‘Advent Calendar’ in 2006. Two years later, on Advent Sunday 2008, it was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 by the Choir of St John’s College, […]

An 18th-century pocket library

An 18th-century pocket library

18th November 2020

With the Boston book fair now behind me, I’ve now got time to focus on cataloguing some recent acquisitions and thought I’d share one with you. This is a rare eighteenth-century perspective view depicting a miniature contemporary library, complete with library users reading, discoursing, or simply admiring the shelves.  Such Guckkastendioramen (or ‘peepshows’ as they […]