De Profundis

SSAATTBB, brass, percussion, harp, piano and organ
15 minutes
Commissioned by Westminster Abbey. First performed 8/07/98 at Westminster Abbey, London by Westminster Abbey Choir, BBC Singers and London Brass conducted by Martin Baker.

De Profundis is a 15 minute work commissioned to end a special concert in the Abbey by the Westminster Abbey Choir, The BBC Singers, and London Brass, augmented by extra percussion, piano, harp & organ and conducted by Martin Baker, now director of music at Westminster Cathedral.

This concert on 8th July 1998 was part of a series of high profile events attended by world religious leaders and the Queen, among others, to celebrate the unveiling of 10 new statues of 20th century martyrs from around the world.

The Welsh premiere of De Profundis was in Llandaf Cathedral, Cardiff on 12 December 1998, by the Cardiff Ardwyn Singers & Players, conducted by Helena Braithwaite MBE.

 
 

“John Hardy’s powerful De Profundis, a setting of scripture and martyr’s writings.”
Rick Jones, Evening Standard, 9 July 1998

“Stirring brass and chorus writing.”
Stephen Johnson, The Independent, 14 July 1998

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Venite

SATB choir, brass, percussion & organ
2013
8 minutes
Text: Psalm 95

Commissioned for the opening service of the 2013 Three Choirs Festival, John Hardy's Venite is a celebratory setting of Psalm 95 (lines 1-7), beginning 'O come, let us sing unto the Lord'.

Written for choir, brass, percussion and organ, Venite was first performed on 27th July 2013 by the Festival Chorus, Gloucester Cathedral Choir, RWCMD Symphonic Brass ensemble and Anthony Gowing (organ), conducted by Adrian Partington, at Gloucester Cathedral.

John writes of his aim to "see what I can find in my subconscious that may help to stir participants and listeners into a fresh and visceral encounter with the words of Psalm 95, which has been repeated daily

and monthly, throughout the world, starting in the mists of Temple and Synagogue ritual nearly three thousand years ago, in Hebrew, then in Greek, Latin, Coptic, Georgian, Slav and finally every written language on the globe.

"The plainchant quoted at the beginning is Tone vi [Liber Usualis, Solemnes 1961], often used for great festivals including Easter."

 
 

 

 

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Not Darkness but Twilight

SATB choir - timp.vib.tbells - hp.org
OR SATB choir - vib - 2pno

19 minutes
Text: Aneirin, R. S. Thomas (English)
Commissioned by BBC National Chorus of Wales. First performed 31/5/04 at St. David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire by BBC National Chorus of Wales conducted by Adrian Partington.

 
 

Not Darkness But Twilight is a choral piece setting words by R.S. Thomas.

The piece was first performed by the BBC National Chorus of Wales conducted by Adrian Partington at St David's Cathedral Festival in Pembrokeshire, Wales and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

The work is around 20 minutes long and is scored for choir, organ, harp and percussion. The movements set words by R.S. Thomas, with the prelude setting words from Y Gododdin, the epic 7th century Welsh poem attributed to Aneirin)

1 - Prelude
2 - Relay
3 - Gone
4 - The River
5 - The Bright Field
6 - Shadows
7 - At The End

“...The Bright Field, in which a shaft of sunlight is seen as a manifestation of the divine, inspired a fluent and altogether more intense outpouring in what was essentially a heartfelt requiem for both Thomas and Hardy's own father, who died within months of each other.
... rich waves of sound in At the End.”

Rian Evans, The Guardian

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Spaces-Beyond the End of the World

Song cycle for combinations of SATB, 2 percussion, harp, piano and organ
2006
60 minutes
Text: ancient Welsh verse, Henry Thoreau, John of the Cross, Stewart Edward White, Rebecca Stager, extracts from Psalms & the Mass (Latin & Greek)
Commissioned with funding from Arts Council Wales and PRS Foundation. First performed 24/06/06 at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff by Serendipity, Only Men Aloud! and Vivace Singers.

This cycle of songs explores the notion of a great journey - perhaps an inner journey, or a final journey, or perhaps a journey to a new and uncharted realm beyond all that is known. It meditates on the idea of the vast worlds that exist nearby-around us as we travel, under the ground we walk on-but always beyond reach and understanding, as well as concepts of solitude and awe.

Spaces takes a variety of texts, including ancient Welsh verse, Henry Thoreau, John of the Cross, Stewart Edward White, the Psalms and Mass extracts in Latin and Greek, clippings from press and radio, a poet from Alabama called Rebecca Stager, and verse in French by the composer.

It is scored for various combinations of voices, piano, harp and keyboard and designed for expansion and performance in large-scale open sites, such as quarries, incorporating elements of choreography, image projection and dramatic lighting.

Spaces was commissioned by the Vivace Singers and performed with Only Men Aloud! as Serendipity with funding from the Arts Council of Wales and the PRS Foundation.

"Each [part] was a vivid realisation of its title... finding... a speed and rhythmic movement which belonged to that piece alone and created a particular and exclusive world for it."
Enid Luff, Composers of Wales newsletter, May 2006

 

*Grateful thanks to video editor John Gillanders at Barcud Derwen, camera operator Aled Jenkins and sound recordist Deian Humphreys.

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