Category Archive: Composer

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 […]

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, […]

The Angel and the Unicorn

The Angel and the Unicorn

8th October 2020

According to The New Oxford Book of Carols, this year marks the 125th anniversary of the famous carol known in English as ‘Gabriel’s Message’. It is actually a translation, by Sabine Baring-Gould, of a Basque carol, Birjina gaztettobat zegoen, which was collected by the French musician Charles Bordes and published in his Dix cantiques populaires […]

Under another sky

Under another sky

17th September 2020

Under ordinary circumstances, I would have been in Paris today, for the opening this evening of the annual Salon international du Livre rare. But I am in still in beechy Buckinghamshire, enjoying instead some late summer sunshine. My mind, however, has turned to French books, and one in particular which I have at the moment. […]

(Not) on Choir Tour

(Not) on Choir Tour

6th August 2020

This week I should have been singing at Ely Cathedral with a group of friends called the Pearce Singers, a choir which arose some years ago out of those of us who used to sing with Tring Parish Church Choir when we were growing up. Back in the 1980s and early 90s, we would go […]