Sunday 21 March 2010

Two compositions

At some stage I will probably stop thinking of my life in terms of "since I finished at Trinity", but for now it's still such a change that I'm quite regularly struck by how different life is.

One of the joys of having more control over my time is that I have been doing more composing. I have half a dozen things unfinished at the moment, but I've also written three pieces since December. One of them is not quite finished, though it was performed on the occasion it was written for; there are some harmonic issues I'd like to sit down and sort out properly before posting it here.

The first of the others is A Marriage Blessing. It's the first time in many years that someone has asked me to write a piece of music, and the last time, I was about fourteen years old, so I was a bit worried that this would miss the mark. It's based on traditional Celtic texts, and meant to be sung unaccompanied, though I don't see why an accompaniment on appropriate instruments couldn't be improvised if desired. I wasn't at the wedding, but I'm told it was performed con lacrime and went down very well.

The second piece, Crux fidelis, is a setting of the English translation of the text of the same name. In thinking about music for Holy Week at St Andrew's, Leytonstone, I happened across the King John of Portugal setting, which beautiful -- but which we do not have the resources to sing. I thought a simpler work for soprano and organ might be welcome, perhaps with an optional alto part, and this is what I ended up with. There is a MIDI file of this, but as with most MIDI files, it sounds like R2D2. It's the first time I've done any writing for the organ: all of my choral music before now has been SATB or TBB a cappella.

Both works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

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