Forest Song (2016)
for SATB choir and piano
Duration: 4 minutes 30 seconds
Text: Oliver Goldsmith (1794-1861)
Winner of the 20th Anniversary Choral Competition by the Cantabile Choirs of Kingston.
First performed by the Cantabile Summer Chorus (Mark Sirett, dir.) with Clare Gordon, piano, in June 2016.
Forest Song was written, as a personal challenge, to create a simple choral work with no divisi that might be widely enjoyed! The piece takes a text from the pre-Confederation Canadian poet Oliver Goldsmith, which describes the stillness and beauty of a forest scene at night, and sets it through music which alternates between distant bell-tones and warm, undulating harmonies.
The audio below is a live recording of the premiere performance by the Cantabile Summer Chorus in June 2016.
for SAB choir, flute, and piano
Duration: 7 minutes
Text: Robert Herrick (1591-1674) and Horace (65 BC-8 BC)
Commissioned by Katlyn Redding for the Graduating Class of 2015 at Greenall High School (Balgonie, SK). First performed by the Greenall High School Choir (Katlyn Redding, dir.) in June 2015.
When I was contacted by Katlyn Redding to compose a piece for her high school choir (as a goodbye to her graduating choral students), I was both flattered and frightened. In many cases, my past choral pieces have been so difficult that choristers and conductors alike tend to avoid eye contact with me! In Guidance, my challenge was to keep as much complexity in the music as possible, while still making the work accessible and fun to high school singers (and their listeners). The piece is cast in three large sections; the first and last use Robert Herrick’s classic poem, To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time (better known by its first line, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…”), and the music captures the joie de vivre of the text with its spacious chords and glittering flute solo. The central section is more introspective, using a Latin ode from the Roman poet Horace; this poem is simply a warm letter to his friend, urging him to live in the moment.
Panis Angelicus (2013/14)
for SATB choir, a cappella
Duration: 3 minutes
Text: Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
First performed by the All Saints Anglican Cathedral Choir (Jeremy Spurgeon, dir.) in March 2015. First European performance in London, UK by the King's College London Chapel Choir (Joe Fort, dir.) in May 2017.
This setting of Panis Angelicus, the beautiful Latin text by Thomas Aquinas, is adapted from the final movement of my Requiem for the Fallen. This chorale is as pure and simple an ending as I could have possibly written for that piece, but I wanted desperately to repurpose these beautiful harmonies as a standalone work. As a setting of Aquinas' words, the gentle voiceleading and occasionally pained dissonances turn away from their original context (the idea of community in the face of human suffering) and towards a sacred optimism in the glory of heaven.