Monday 6 March 7.30pm St Mary's
Stephen Dodgson – International Choral Project
Barnes Festival Consort
James Day, Conductor
Matthew Altham, Conductor
Daniel Collins, Conductor
This three-choir concert launches a year-long Stephen Dodgson International Choral Project book-ended by two major anniversaries – the 10th anniversary of his death in 2023 and the centenary of his birth in 2024.
Barnes-based Stephen Dodgson was a composer of great breadth, his style ranging from angularly playful to deeply, movingly evocative. A professor of composition at the RCM, Dodgson was particularly renowned for his works for guitar (with commissions from John Williams and Julian Bream), but had a prolific output across many idioms including a wealth of choral music, with performances and recordings by The King's Singers, BBC Singers and King's College Cambridge among others. But there remains much untapped choral music.
And in preparation for the 100th anniversary celebrations next year, the Stephen Dodgson Charitable Trust and Barnes Music Festival will be launching the Stephen Dodgson International Choral Project to engage with choirs and vocal groups of every level around the world, provide them with free resources and support them to help discover this intriguing treasure trove of music.
Appropriately, the launch concert features several world premieres and represents a rich variety of his choral work, including cycles with solo harp and solo flute, songs for upper voices, and poetry by John Clare, Mary Coleridge, Ronald Fletcher* and (Stephen Dodgson favourite) John Clare, all performed by top chamber choirs including the newly-formed professional Barnes Festival Consort.
The poems reflect the festival theme of the environment and nature. And it is wonderful to be able to mark the 10th anniversary of the composer’s death and the launch of the International Choral Project by finally allowing these pieces to be heard for the first time.
A delightful selection of short Dodgson songs (Mrs Hen, Invocation, Echoing Carol, Winter, Lullaby, All Bells in Paradise) and three cycles:
Four Poems of Mary Coleridge (1987) with Solo Flute
Home-Bred Pictures (2001) With Solo Harp (John Clare)
The Grass Eternal
Crow and Ploughman
The Poet’s Death
Two Choral Songs (2005) SATB
Verses taken from Old Pathways (Ronald Fletcher)
Tell me, gentle wind
Supported by The Stephen Dodgson Trust
*The distinguished East Anglian historian, who wrote the libretto for Stephen’s Suffolk opera, Margaret Catchpole. He can be seen on YouTube in BBC Norwich's In a Country Churchyard.