Summer is in full swing, swinging wildly in fact from sunshine to storm and back again, yet right now I’m casting my thoughts ahead to shortening nights and autumn chills, as they herald an exciting new chapter in my musical career. I am delighted to be taking over the helm of the Ripieno Choir from David, who has served the group with such distinction for so long – my first task is simply to make sure that the standard of musicianship and innovative planning that characterised David’s tenure are maintained as best I can. I hope I can do his legacy justice!
I feel that the choir and I share a similar outlook on music: we both have a passion for a cappella Renaissance music in particular and early music in general, and we both enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of the repertoire, away from the well-trodden paths, unearthing what gems and gold we can along the way. The first concert of my time with the choir should demonstrate this, exploring the music of the Bohemian composer Jacob Handl (Gallus) and his relationship with his Franco-Flemish and Venetian contemporaries.
Inasmuch as I have a philosophy of programming and performance, beyond this love of the Renaissance, I do enjoy more familiar repertoire, though seek to stage a performance that is free of gimmickry simply for the sake of doing something new: popular classical music endures because it is simply good music, and that good music must be allowed to speak through a performance that is itself as good as possible, rather than by being different or quirky. Fauré’s Requiem is a fine enough piece without needing to be “reimagined”…
I also am a passionate advocate for new music, and look to support in particular those composers who are yet to establish themselves fully. I am a composer myself, and am privileged to have my choral and organ music published by Firehead Editions, so I fully understand the importance of such support. I also have an experimental streak, and work with a collective called Automatronic, who seek to create, promote and perform new music for the combination of organ and electronics.
I look forward to sharing all these things, and more, with the choir and our wonderful audience over the coming seasons, do watch this space for news of future programmes!
Huw Morgan, August 2018