Johnson: Songs Of Celebration - Dove: The Pied Pip

Album cover art for upc 0710357643125
Catalog: NI6431

Gloucester Cathedral Choir; Johnson, Emma; Lenehan, John; Partington, Adrian; Recorder Consort

In 2018 I was delighted to accept the challenge of writing a Christmas song for clarinet and higher voices and decided to set one of my favorite medieval poems, I Sing of a Maiden that is Makeless. The poem tells of the miracle of the divine birth and is a paean to the mother of Christ. I became so fascinated with composing for clarinet and upper voices that I found myself writing three more songs, all celebrating the Christmas story. All four songs are grouped under the title, Songs of Celebration and they can be performed separately or as a suite. Oddly, the lyrics for Precious Gift, came to me whilst waiting in an NHS hospital waiting room. Perhaps influenced by my surroundings, I focus on the pain inherent in baby Jesus’ story! An epilogue from the clarinet expressing grief completes the story and turns the mood around in readiness for the final carol. There is No Rose of Such Virtue is another early 15th century poem equating Mary with a vigorously growing rose, a popular metaphor of the time. It was very gratifying to see the children in Gloucester cathedral choir singing this carol with gusto, relishing its beat boxing and glissandi which felt at once incongruously modern and yet perfectly apposite in the cathedral surroundings. (Emma Johnson)

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