Sacred Choral Music

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Clive Osgood’s Sacred Choral Music, featuring Excelsis choir conducted by Robert Lewis, with solos by Rebecca Moon and music from the London Mozart Players.

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Description

About this release

This debut recording of sacred choral music by the British composer, Clive Osgood, features performances by Excelsis with the London Mozart Players and soprano soloist, Rebecca Moon under the direction of Robert Lewis. Osgood’s music is defined both by creativity and also by accessibility for both listeners and performers, from simple choral motets to larger scale works.

“Clive Osgood is a new name to me, but he definitely has his own voice, and deserves to be much better-known (I’m sure that will happen). The performances are impeccable and the production excellent.” Catherine Bott, Singer & Broadcaster

Commissioned Programme Note

The sacred choral music on this CD can be divided into settings of Latin and English texts. The most substantial works are Dixit Dominus and Beatus Vir, which are both Latin settings of vesper psalms for choir and strings. Latin is a wonderful language to set to music, with a long and rich history. It has a certain universality and less complicated vowels than English.

Dixit Dominus (2014) is a six-movement setting of Psalm 110 and was written in response to examples from the Baroque period, especially those by Vivaldi. Such pieces first introduced dance forms and vibrant rhythmic effects into sacred music. With my own music, I wanted to capture the essence of these eighteenth-century masterpieces but fused with twentieth century dance forms and jazz influences. After a strident opening movement, a solo violin emerges from the texture in ‘Virgam virtutis’ in music with a strong feel of Latin dance music. The upper voices then take a lead in the slow movement, ‘Tecum principium’, before the lower voices provide a short link to the contrasting and vigorous ‘Dominus a dextris’. The last movement, ‘De torrente’, describes the flowing of a brook, and leads into the Gloria which repeats the opening music.

The single movement Beatus Vir (2017), for eight-part choir, strings and soprano solo, begins and ends quietly with sustained chords from the choir over an undulating string accompaniment. The central section, however, contains a gradual building of intensity until the words ‘dentibus suis fremet et tabescet’—‘he shall gnash with his teeth and consume away’. Fortunately, calm is then restored.

Miserere mei (2012) is a Latin setting of Psalm 50 for unaccompanied eight-part choir and soprano soloist. In the central section the soprano soloist floats high above a pulsating murmur from the choir below. The line reaches a top C, recalling the same high notes in the famous seventeenth century setting by Allegri. The setting of Ave Verum (2018) is modelled on the famous example by Mozart, using the same abridged version of the text and a similar key scheme.

Written for the 2011 Haslemere Festival, on the anniversary of the King James Bible, the anthem Hymn to the Word begins by setting the opening of the Gospel of John, ‘In the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God.’ The austere music for these words is then contrasted and resolved with music that sets Jesus’ comforting words from later within the Gospel: ‘This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.’

Rejoice in the Lord Alway is taken from a set of four Advent pieces. An exuberant setting, making use of a variety of rhythmic effects, is scored for choir, piano, strings and a solo oboe.

The Peace of God was written for a competition on the anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. It is a setting of the final blessing from the communion service. In 2014 it was performed by the Reed’s School chapel choir to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, as part of the school’s bicentenary celebrations.

Alleluia! A new work is come on hand was one of six shortlisted entries for the 2016 BBC Radio 3 ‘Carol Competition’. Performed by the BBC Singers, it was broadcast several times on BBC Radio 3 in the week before Christmas. The mystery of the ‘new work’ suggested the general feeling of the carol.

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life and Brightest and Best both make use of a soprano solo and were written for Llandaff Cathedral parish choir and St Bartholomew’s church choir, respectively. The short anthem Lord, for Thy Tender Mercy’s Sake, was written for this CD and is dedicated to Robert Lewis, Excelsis and Grayshott Concerts.

About the artists

Rebecca Moon

Brought up in Cornwall, Rebecca began her training with the National Youth Ballet and National Youth Music Theatre before continuing her vocal studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Karlsruhe Musikhochschule.

She was the recipient of the Dame Hilda Bracket Award for Comedy in Opera for her performance of Mary Turner in Let ‘Em Eat Cake (Opera North / Sadler’s Wells; BBC Radio 3 Live Broadcast). Other operatic roles include Innamorato / L’Ospedale (Solomon’s Knot); Rose Maybud / Ruddigore, 1st Witch / Dido and Aeneas, cover Lidochka / Paradise Moscow (Opera North); Lolo / The Merry Widow, Ida / Die Fledermaus, Kate / The Yeomen of the Guard (Philharmonia / RFH & RLPO); Mabel / The Pirates of Penzance (G&S Opera Company / Carl Rosa Opera); Rose Maybud /Ruddigore, Jennifer / Do I hear a waltz? (Charles Court Opera); Maddalena / Monteverdi’s Flying Circus (Armonico Consort). Recent performances include Innamorato / L’Ospedale for Bury Court Opera; Wife in the UK premiere of The Juniper Tree by Philip Glass and Robert Moran; Royalty in Herakles, a new oratorio by Tim Benjamin; and Sandman / Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel with Pop Up Opera.

Visit website: rebecca-moon.com

Excelsis

Excelsis Excelsis Chamber Choir, a group of accomplished singers formed in 2007, has flourished under the leadership of conductor Robert Lewis. In its first ten years, Excelsis has presented numerous concerts, exploring a versatile range of repertoire both unaccompanied or in performance with international soloists and professional orchestras.

As Choir in Residence of Grayshott Concerts, Excelsis has performed many classic works with the Marylebone Camerata and the London Mozart Players. Grayshott Concerts Patron Sir Karl Jenkins has invited the choir to take part in performances of his Requiem and The Armed Man in London and Cardiff. Excelsis has sung at services in Westminster Cathedral and sang at the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate during a tour in Belgium. Convivium’s recording of the works of acclaimed composer Clive Osgood is the culmination of their 10th anniversary celebrations.

Visit website: Excelsis Choir

Clive Osgood

Clive Osgood was born and raised in Portsmouth. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Music at the University of Wales and was then awarded an organ scholarship at Salisbury Cathedral. He completed a second Master’s degree in composition at the University of Surrey, Guildford, and is an associate of the Royal College of Organists.

Clive is currently the Director of Music and Organist at the Parish Church of St. Bartholomew’s in Haslemere and teaches music at Reed’s School, Cobham. He is heavily involved with amateur music- making within his local community, directing and accompanying various choirs as well as playing in chamber groups.

Although sacred choral music provides the largest part of his output, Clive has also written music in a variety of other forms including chamber and orchestral music, as well as musicals and opera.

Visit website: Clive Osgood

Robert Lewis

Robert Lewis Robert Lewis is a conductor, performer and educator. Born in Cardiff, he began his musical training as a chorister at Westminster Cathedral under the direction of David Hill and James O’Donnell and later won a choral scholarship to the Oratory School and New College, Oxford, where he read Music.

He founded his first choir at the age of 16 and a few years later was conducting regularly for concerts, radio and television broadcasts. He has worked with such artists as Sir Charles Mackerras, David Hill, Sir Karl Jenkins, the London Mozart Players and James Bowman.

In 2007, he co-founded ‘Excelsis’ and continues to be its Director of Music. Since its foundation, the choir has performed to critical acclaim and premiered Karl Jenkins’ The Healer for Grayshott Concerts and Classic FM. It has featured on a BBC Radio 3 broadcast, performed at the Royal Albert Hall and St. David’s Hall, Cardiff, and spent over 6 months in the specialist classical charts featuring on the album, Still with the Music.

Robert specialises in developing choirs and voices of all ages, in particular encouraging boys to sing. In this capacity, his choirs have reached the televised finals of the BBC ‘Songs of Praise Choir of the Year’ Competition and sung for His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, in a televised performance in front of 40,000 people.

As a singer, Robert has made over 25 recordings and toured numerous countries. He is also Director of Music of Grayshott Concerts, who have lead the way across the country by their huge success in bringing world class artists to their local community. In addition, Robert directs the choristers of St Thomas-on- the Bourne and ‘Vox’ Chamber Choir, is Head of Vocal Studies at Edgeborough School and acts as a choral consultant, composer and accompanist.

London Mozart Players

Founded in 1949 by Harry Blech, the London Mozart Players is the UK’s longest established chamber orchestra.

Known for its unmistakable British roots, the orchestra has developed an outstanding reputation for adventurous, ambitious programming. From Baroque through to genre-crossing contemporary music, the London Mozart Players is constantly exploring new venues and audiences through collaborations with artists and personalities from all over the creative scene. The ensemble has enjoyed a long history of association with many of the world’s finest musical personalities including Igor Stravinsky, Sir James Galway, Dame Felicity Lott, Jane Glover, Julian Lloyd Webber, Stephen Hough, Nicola Benedetti, John Suchet and Simon Callow.

Since its inception, the orchestra has championed new works, regularly giving world premiere performances by composers including Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Tarik O’Regan, Sally Beamish, Cecilia McDowall, Lynne Plowman, Fraser Trainer and Roxanna Panufnik, who was appointed as Associate Composer of the ensemble in 2011. The ensemble has a strong tradition of supporting new music for choirs; in 2014 they joined forces with Portsmouth Grammar School to commission a major new choral work by Jonathan Dove, For an Unknown Soldier, and in the same year performed the world premiere of Toby Young’s Love and Harmony with the London Oriana Choir.

Away from their commitment to live performances across the UK, the London Mozart Players also undertake an international touring schedule which has seen them give performances in the Far East, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and Spain. A long relationship with classical label Chandos has led to a series of over 20 recordings, including works by Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Clementi, Salieri and Stamitz. The orchestra featured on Naxos’ release Flowers of the Field alongside the City of London Choir, Roderick Williams and Associate Conductor Hilary Davan Wetton, which reached No.1 in the Classical Album Charts.

The orchestra regularly performs with their Conductor Laureate Howard Shelley, as well as working closely with some of the world’s eminent conductors and soloists, including Tasmin Little, Anthony Marwood, BBC Young Musician 2016 Sheku Kanneh-Mason and cellist Laura van der Heijden, the orchestra’s first Young Artist in Residence.

In 2016, the London Mozart Players relocated their home to St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood, undertaking a rich programme of initiatives within the local community. Their commitment to reaching new audiences is underlined with their highly-regarded education and community programme LMP Voyager, which sees the ensemble take world-class classical music into schools, colleges, local amateur groups and areas of the community, helping to build excellence and passion for classical music through performance and shared experience.

The London Mozart Players has enjoyed the patronage of HRH The Earl of Wessex since 1988. In the summer of 2014, the orchestra began a new and exciting phase in its history, becoming the first professional orchestra in the UK to be managed both operationally and artistically by the players.

  • Dixit Dominus; i, Dixit Dominus - Clive Osgood
  • Dixit Dominus; ii, Virgam virtutis - Clive Osgood
  • Dixit Dominus; iii, Tecum principium - Clive Osgood
  • Dixit Dominus; iv, Tu es sacerdos - Clive Osgood
  • Dixit Dominus; v, Dominus a dextris - Clive Osgood
  • Dixit Dominus; vi, De torrente - Clive Osgood
  • Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life - Clive Osgood
  • Beatus Vir - Clive Osgood
  • Alleluia! A new work is come on hand - Clive Osgood
  • Hymn to the Word - Clive Osgood
  • The Peace of God - Clive Osgood
  • Ave Verum - Clive Osgood
  • Brightest and Best - Clive Osgood
  • Miserere mei - Clive Osgood
  • Lord, for Thy Tender Mercy's Sake - Clive Osgood
  • Rejoice in the Lord Alway - Clive Osgood
  • The Peace of God; ii - Clive Osgood
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Credits

Catalogue number: CR049

Choir Excelsis
Orchestra London Mozart players
Soprano Rebecca Moon
Piano Clive Osgood
Conductor Robert Lewis
Producer George Richford
Assistant Producer Andrew King
Technical Adviser to Excelsis Steve Georgii
Editing, engineering and mastering by Adaq Khan
Artwork by John Bevan
Session photography by Mike Cooter
London Mozart Players photography by Kevin Day
Album notes by Clive Osgood
Executive Producer Adrian Green

Further information

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