Fall, Leaves, Fall

Here's a little piece for the autumn, a setting of Emily Brontë's poem "Fall, Leaves, Fall" for AATTBarB or SATTBarB a cappella; I'm thinking about doing an upper voices only arrangement, too, but I haven't done anything about it just yet. I know, I know, it isn't autumn yet! But it is the time of year when some choirs are thinking about what they will programme for the next year. Fall, leaves,...

Music for Lent 1: Angelis suis

(If I've done this correctly it should post on Wednesday night, UK time...) Ready or not, Lent is upon us. In January, Sally Martin-Brown asked me if I had anything suitable for the University of London Church Choir visit to Jerusalem. I had a rummage through my notebooks, sure I'd started something at some point, and sure enough, there was a sort of skeleton of this piece, the Latin version of...

Patreon Shenanigans

Patreon is changing their fee structure to one in which patrons pay more than the amount of their pledge, and creators get a lower percentage of what patrons actually pay. Lots of people are upset about this, and rightly so. I've had misgivings about Patreon for a while: the way they keep trying to encourage people to have walled gardens (yuck); the way they prioritize shiny tools for very...

Colwall 87 87 887 (Lo, in the wilderness a voice)

I have a new project, Cecilia's List, where (among other things) I make weekly recommendations for music composed by women and other underrepresented groups that's suitable for church use. I've only really just gotten started, and so I still have a lot of music to look through and add. This week I've had a bit of a struggle trying to find something suitable for Advent II, which is very much John...

I would not paint — a picture —

I was delighted to be asked to write a piece for the Chapel Choir of King's College, Aberdeen, for them to sing on St Cecilia's Day this year. I chose this text by Emily Dickinson at the suggestion of Catherine Fox: I would not paint — a picture — I'd rather be the One It's bright impossibility To dwell — delicious — on — And wonder how the fingers feel Whose rare — celestial — stir...

The Old Astronomer

Remember the Musical Hat Draw? Well, my setting of The Old Astronomer, text suggested by AlexSeanchai, has now sold. It was sponsored by Kathleen Jowitt and AlexSeanchai. I've set the first four stanzas to the same tune, and though I had intended this to be a piece for choir and piano or choir and ensemble, it didn't work out that way. It's quite folk-y, maybe a little jaunty for the subject...

An Arab Love-Song

This is one of the pieces from the Musical Hat Draw. I really enjoyed that project, but it didn't result in a single sale of music! So I've decided to release the pieces as I normally would, through Patreon, instead. This text was suggested by TJA Thurman, but written by Francis Thompson. It's for a small or flexible choir, with piano accompaniment. An Arab Love-Song Francis Thompson (1859-1907)...

Musical Hat Draw: Music Sale!

About a month ago I tried a new-to-me experiment: I asked the internet to suggest texts for me to set to music, on the understanding that I'd do my best at some drafts with random selections of text, and then eventually put the completed music up for sale online. I called it the Musical Hat Draw because I was going to pull numbers out of a hat to decide what order to set the texts in. I loved...

Hilltop 55 54 D

Another hymn tune! This one, I think, might be suitable for Harvest, though the Revd Ally Barrett based it on the theology behind the gospel story about tax: ‘render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s; render to God that which belongs to God’. You can read some more of her hymns on her website and there is also information there about permission to use the text in worship. Here we are giving,...

Musical Hat Draw: “Stars”

Welcome to the inaugural, experimental, Musical Hat Draw! For this round, the theme is “stars”. If you have a favourite poem about stars that you’ve always wanted to hear set to music, or if you’ve written about stars and wonder what your poem might sound like sung, the Musical Hat Draw is for you. How it works: From today until midnight BST on 11th September, you can send me text...