Wonderful mysteries

With each rehearsal this term, my love for Jacob Handl’s music has grown, as has my belief that he is one of the finest composers of his generation, and as such unjustly and sadly under-represented in modern concert and liturgical programmes, partly through the lack of professionally edited commercial editions of his music. Continue reading

Brumel – O Crux, Ave

One of the most pleasant surprises of the term so far has been Brumel’s setting of “O Crux ave, spes unica”, the penultimate verse of the great hymn to the Cross of Venantius Fortunatus (530-609). I originally included this work in our programme as a mature (and manageable!) example of the early Franco-Flemish polyphonic school, but such is the quality of the writing that this little piece is becoming a star in its own right. Continue reading


It was a great pleasure to take my first rehearsal with the choir this weekend just past – I have to confess to feeling rather apprehensive in advance, partly owing to concerns over the distance I have to travel (will my car break down, will I get lost?!) and of course over how I would be received by the choir. I needn’t have worried! A fabulous group – attentive, open to new ideas and with the skills to start putting them into practice straight away. I’m really looking forward to a new term of excellent music-making! I will perhaps write a few thoughts in due course about building a relationship with a new choir. Continue reading

A new beginning!

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! Continue reading