Monday, 20 September 2010

The Magi

London Concord Singers, conductor Malcolm Cottle will be premiering my cantata The Magi at their concert
on Thursday December 16th 2010 at the Grosvenor Chapel, London W1. Written for unaccompanied 8 part choir, the piece sets extracts from a sermon
preached by Lancelot Andrewes in 1622 (You can read the full sermon here). The sermon is perhaps best known as the inspiration behind T.S. Eliot's poem The Journey of the Magi, the opening lines of which are a direct quotation from Andrewes ('A cold coming they had of it at this time of the year, just the worst time of the year to take a journey, and specially a long journey.'). Andrewes uses a lot of Latin tags in his sermon and this makes for a very rich (and at times diffuse) text. The work is divided into three movement, in each of which Andrewes considers a different aspect of the Magi's journey, so that in the 2nd movement it is the difficulty of the journey and the danger of the lands they are crossing and in the last it is the weather and the cold.

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