Choir of Westminster School

Now May We Singen

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: Signum Classics
UPC: 0635212059524
Catnr: SIGCD 595
Release date: 09 August 2019
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Label
Signum Classics
UPC
0635212059524
Catalogue number
SIGCD 595
Release date
09 August 2019
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN

About the album

Rhythmically energised refrains feature in others’ carols in this collection, such as John Rutter’s The King of Blisand myAlleluia! A new work is come on hand.The former, a 15th-century text by James Ryman, conjures up the angel’s triumphant announcement through syncopated, fanfare-like major scales and cross rhythms, while mystical, dissonant harmonies describethe rare gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. The latter carol celebrates the arrival of the Saviour who has come to “save the lost of ev’ry land”, a mood captured beautifully by Timothy Garrard, who inspires energised diction and articulation, and a sense of playfulness with the dramatic dynamic and textural changes. In this work I hark back to the origins of the anonymous medieval English text through the use of modality, dance-like dotted rhythms, and a compound time signature.

Not only joyful song, but also alcohol, featuresin the festivities following the announcement of the arrival of the Saviour in William Mathias’ work,Sir Christèmas.The upbeat tempo, exuberant hemiolas and triumphant shouts of “Nowell” bring the celebratory scene vividlyto life, boldly reminding us that “the carol form has its origins in...dance” (Geraint Lewis). Following the Choir of Westminster School’s rousing rendition of this traditional British carol, Westminster School alumnus Alexander Campkin’sSleep, holy babeprovides a welcome moment of intimacy and calm. A lullaby sung by Mary to her Jesus, it draws upon flowing, lyrical lines, rich harmonies, and immersive textures. This is further enhanced by the sensitive musical phrasing and enjoyment of subtle chromatic shifts achieved by the choir under the directorship of Timothy Garrard.

A commissioned work for this album, Richard Allain’s Lullay, myn lyking, taken from a 15th-century English poem, also depicts a lullaby sung by the Virgin to her new-born baby. With its triple-time lilt and repeated opening refrain, as well as the choir’s beautifully controlled phrasing, it is difficult to resist being drawn into the carol’s relaxing, mesmerising sound world. Richard Allain dedicated this work to his mother, who attended the first performance at the Westminster School Carol Service 2017 in Westminster Abbey on her 80th birthday.

Artist(s)

Westminster is an ancient school. Its origins can be traced to the Benedictine monastery at Westminster Abbey, and its continuous existence is certain from the early fourteenth century. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540, Henry VIII personally ensured the School’s survival by statute, and his daughter, Elizabeth I, confirmed royal patronage in 1560 and is celebrated as the School’s Foundress. Old Westminsters include John Dryden, John Locke, A.A. Milne, Henry Purcell and Christopher Wren.Music plays an integral part in life at Westminster, where pupils are encouraged to learn and participate as fully as possible in a weekly routine of rehearsals, recitals and concerts. Many internationally renowned musicians have been educated at the school including Henry Purcell, Adrian Boult, Roger Norrington, Ian Bostridge, George Benjamin, Julian Anderson and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Westminster musicians regularly attend the junior departments at the Royal Academy, Royal College and Guildhall, and a good number are members of the National Youth Orchestra, National Children’s Orchestra, National Youth Jazz Orchestra and NationalYouth Choirs of Great Britain. The Choir of Westminster School has developed a national reputation for excellence, giving annual concerts at the Barbican and performing regularly at venues including Westminster Abbey, St John’s Smith Square and the Houses of Parliament. Under the direction of Timothy Garrard, Director of Music, the Choir rehearses regularly throughout the week in preparation for twice-weekly services in Westminster Abbey and evensongs in the School Chapel.

Timothy Garrard graduated in the summer of 2001 from King’s College, Cambridge where he read Music and was the recipient of the College’s Gollin Prize. He taught at Eltham College before taking up the post of Head of Academic Music at Trinity School, Croydon and Associate Director of Trinity Boys Choir. In 2011, Timothy was appointed Director of Music at Westminster School. Timothy’s musical career began as a treble soloist at the Opéra Comique, Paris, the Aix-en-Provence Festival and the London Coliseum with English National Opera. As the senior choral scholar of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, he performed as a countertenor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, the Lincoln Center, New York, the Sydney Opera House and the Bermuda Festival. As Associate Director of Trinity Boys Choir, Timothy worked on productions for the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Garsington Opera and English National Opera. He coached the Boys Choir for appearances at the Royal Variety Performance, Children in Need and the Pride of Britain Awards.

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