Newsletter No. 3 – August 2023

Dear friends,

Hope you are enjoying your summer!  Welcome to my August newsletter, which is for anyone who has connected in some way with my music, both choral and instrumental.

I’ve been spending recent weeks making separate editions of most of the movements from my new cantata Endless Song and have already had performance requests about them!  They should all be available by September.

As promised last time, here is some Christmas keyboard music:

Christmas Preludes and Fantasia, for organ
Five preludes on Christmas Carols and a Fantasia to end your Christmas service with a flourish! My preludes are on The Angel GabrielInfant HolyWhence is that goodly fragranceAs with gladness men of old, and He is born!  The Fantasia originated in a semi-improvisation at the Christmas Lessons and Carols service at St. Mary’s, Friston, Suffolk, and it incorporates half-a-dozen well-known carols into a joyful medley for the congregation to listen to (or talk over!).  Here’s a review by Stephen Farr, writing in ‘Choir and Organ’ magazine: “The pieces are deftly written in the composer’s characteristically grateful idiom. None is immensely difficult, all can be managed on modest instruments, and they will provide a useful addition to the stock of versatile seasonal repertoire”

Published by Banks Music Publications as a complete printed copy, and each piece is also available as a separate digital download.

He is born!, for solo piano
You can guess that this is one of my favourite tunes – not only is there the organ prelude above but I also did an arrangement of it in ‘A Light in the Stable’. This piano version is a kind of short fantasia, and it was commissioned by The Curious Piano Teachers in 2021. It is in three sections: beginning and ending quietly, with a lively central section, it describes ‘Evening falling on a hillside near Bethlehem’, ‘He is born, the infant king’, and ‘In the stable- the nativity scene’.

You can listen to it here, and download it here: Sheet Music Direct, or here: Sheet Music Plus

Here are some easy piano versions of Christmas music, arranged by Janet and Alan Bullard:

Pianoworks Christmas – 20 easy Christmas carols and songs – published by OUP here. (OUP also publish downloadable collections from the same book, in three sets of four each)

And now here are some extra individual Christmas songs in easy piano arrangements:

White Christmas (Irving Berlin)  YouTube link (On sale from  Sheet Music Direct, or Sheet Music Plus)

A Spaceman came travelling (Chris de Burgh)  YouTube link  (On sale from Sheet Music Direct, or Sheet Music Plus)

A Child is Born (Thad Jones) YouTube link (sometimes taken to be a Christmas song, though it isn’t really – On sale from Sheet Music Direct, or Sheet Music Plus)

The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) (Wells and Tormé) YouTube link
(On sale from Sheet Music Direct, or Sheet Music Plus)

Christmas Carols for your choir: If you are thinking of programming one of my carols this Christmas, but don’t know which, please send me an email with hints of what you are looking for, and I’ll try and advise!

Recent Pieces of the Week have included:
‘Shoreline Sketches’ (classical ukulele)
‘Beauty, Joy’ (choir)
Rising from the Deep’ (timpani)
Hark, Hark, the Lark’ (choir)

And lastly, please listen out for BBC R4 Sunday Worship at 8.10am on 3 September – Ely Cathedral Choir / Sarah MacDonald, with Glen Dempsey (organ) will be performing ‘Where shall wisdom be found’ (from my ‘O Come, Emmanuel’) together with works by Sarah MacDonald and Anton Bruckner.

Thanks for reading!  If you’d like to receive these newsletters by email, please send me your email address, and that of any friends who might be interested.