I now have several scores available for purchase through SOUNZ, the Centre for NZ Music. Have a look here. Did you notice the composer number I have been given? Very nice!
Scores can still be purchased through me, just use the contact page.
Photo: NZ Youth Choir, David Squire conducting, Hawke’s Bay Opera House, April 2012 – photo: Tony Speakman
New Zealand Youth Choir hits new highs
Hawke’s Bay Today
Concert by the NZ Youth Choir
Directed by David Squire
HB Opera House, Hastings, Saturday, April 21
Reviewed by Peter Williams
There has been a changing of the guard in the choir with this, the first concert under its new music director, David Squire, who was appointed to follow former long-time director Karen Grylls.
Change of director certainly but no diminution of quality. Residents from Otago to Auckland, these 45 talented, auditioned young singers, aged from 18 to 25, meet for a just a couple of weeks a year, plus some regional rehearsals.
An astonishingly high standard of performance was always maintained; the dedication, discipline, concentration and pleasure gained from singing together was always in evidence.
The programme was uncompromising in its requirements to reach a satisfying performance. The ever-changing idiom of each item seemed to be assimilated with ease – from the opening complex contrapuntal motet Musica Musarum, sung from the opera house boxes and conducted from the gallery by assistant music director James Tibbles, to the very serious cycle Vier doppelchörige Gesänge by Schumann, and a highlight of the programme, the very moving rendition of the Five Negro Spirituals from A Child of Our Time by Michael Tippett.
There was a welcome emphasis on music by New Zealand composers in the second part of the programme – the spectacular setting of the Magnificat by former choir member Andrew Baldwin, Hawke’s Bay composer Stephen Lange’s very original sounding He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, Palmerston North composer Helen Caskie’s five light-hearted songs Ten Cent Mixture, the rollicking NZ folk song settings by Douglas Mews and David Hamilton’s exciting Didn’t it Rain – each with its own special character convincingly projected.
Diction throughout was almost always exemplary, maintenance of pitch in a whole programme sung a capella, embracing multiple parts, extended discords and obscure interval combinations, was hugely impressive – all a great credit to the singers and those who train them.
There was one inspiring guitar-accompanied item to end the concert – a Youth Choir signature tune, Wairua Tapu, beautifully sung, together with the elegant movement of sign language.
Items were enhanced by some fine solo passages from within the choir and by the excellent spoken introductions from James Tibbles and vocal consultant Morag Atchison. Acknowledgment was made of the sponsors who support the choir, which seems certain to maintain the brilliant success of previous Youth Choirs achieved over the past 30-plus years.
Here is some footage of the NZ Youth choir, Directed by David Squire, rehearsing He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven in Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday April 18th 2012. It was a pleasure to spend time working with the NZYC on this piece. I can’t think of a better way for this piece to begin life than in the capable hands of this amazing youth choir!
The first public performance of “He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven” took place recently in Wellington (details here). The Wellington members (pictured) received an outstanding review by Rosemary Collier, entitled “Does a cappella singing get better than this?”.
Excerpt from review: “Stephen Lange’s ‘The cloths of heaven’, composed to words of John Keats, was a difficult piece, with many enchanting discords.”
Great to see some familiar faces in this group! (Hi Penny and Juliette!)
I have just finished a new piece He Wishes For the Cloths of Heaven to the poem by W B Yeats. SATB available now, SSAA on the way. More
The Napier Civic Choir, under Jose Aparicio, did a very brave and noble thing – they put on a concert featuring only local composers. The concert (see flyer for details, venue etc.) included three of my pieces (Ave Maria, Prayer of St Francis of Assisi, and May the Road Rise to Meet You) and was a resounding sucess! A big thank you to Jose and the choir for doing such a great job with the music.
more details, see the concert flyer Hawkes Bay Composers
At The Big Sing I had the pleasure of watching Iona Pure, from Iona College in Havelock North, performing Ave Maria, directed by Jose Apraricio. Just beautiful, thank you!