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O Sing Aloud! – St Cecilia’s Day Concert

Saturday 23rd November at 7.30 pm at St Martin’s Church, Worcester

Presented by the Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir

Conducted by Stephen Shellard, accompanied by Christopher Allsop (organ and piano) with violinist Shulah Oliver and reader Gabrielle Bullock 

An evening of music and readings in celebration of St Cecilia’s Day, including choral works by  Faure, Hunt, King, Purcell, as well as Ian Venables’ anthem, ‘O Sing Aloud To God’.


For advanced tickets please go to:

New Novello Publications

Requiem Op.48

for S.A.T.B and Organ

“a contemplative work of profound beauty” Robert Hugill

To puchase copies please click the image above. 

Ian Venables’  ‘Requiem’ was commissioned by Bryce and Cynthia Somerville and was premiered at Gloucester Cathedral in November 2018, performed by the Choir of Gloucester Cathedral under the direction of Adrian Partington.

“The ‘Sanctus’ is a sophisticated, extended movement, with a thrilling climax (‘Hosanna!’); the ‘Pie Jesu’ is an exquisite miniature, with a most affecting simplicity; the ‘Agnus Dei’ is a movement of suppressed passion, suffused by a rather Gallic melancholy. This Requiem will be a major addition to the concert and liturgical choral repertoire”. John Quinn

The first movement ‘Requiem aeternam’ is also available separately from Novello.

Please click the following link for for further information requiem-aeternam

 Anthem – ‘O Sing Aloud To God’ Op.19

for S.A.T.B and Organ


First performed in 1994 at Cirencester Parish Church by Cantorus Novi under David Soward and published here for the first time.  This setting of texts taken from the Psalms is scored for mixed voices with organ accompaniment

To purchase copies please click the image 


Three Choirs Festival, Gloucester 26th July – 3rd August

Gloucester Three Choirs Festival

Ian Venables was one of the featured composers at this year’s Three Choirs Festival which was held in Gloucester. His music was heard in three concerts during the week one of which included the premiere of a new song, What Then? – a setting of a poem by W.B Yeats, written for the baritone Roderick Williams. Writing in the Church Times, Roderic Dunnett wrote, “…The Three Choirs Festival is patently one of the supreme events in the English musical calendar. In 2019, it is generally well-nigh faultless. The full week fields a flood of events throughout the day. English song plays a significant part…”

James Gilchirst and Anna Tilbrook

Dunnett’s review continued, “…James Gilchrist launched in with an accomplished and meaningful performance of Songs of Eternity and Sorrow a profound four-part Housman cycle by Ian Venables, beautifully wrought, emotionally probing…” James Gilchrist was accompnied in this performance by the Carducci String Quartet and pianist, Anna Tilbrook

Carducci String Quartet

Reviewing the concert for ‘Seen and Heard’ John Quinn wrote, “…Oh who is that young sinner?’ concerns a man who is being punished simply on account of the colour of his hair. The tempo is quicker here and the music biting. Gilchrist was searing in his delivery and the strong, irregular accents in the accompaniment emphasised the bitterness in Housman’s words. The first three songs had been very impressive but Venables saves his best for last. ‘Because I liked you better’ is a poem in which the poet enjoins the person he loves to forget him … The music is slow, tender and regretful, though never maudlin…. James Gilchrist sang the song with a plangent intensity that was entirely appropriate and I loved the poignant and very subdued instrumental ending. These are fine songs which received terrific advocacy today…”

The opening chamber concert of the festival was given the by distinguished violinist Madeleine Mitchell accompanied by the award winning pianist, Clare Hammond. Their English music themed recital included a ravishing performance of the composer’s early Three Pieces Op.11.  Their programme also featured the premiere of Robert Saxton’s Suite written especially for Madeleine Mitchell.

Ian Venables,Madeleine Mitchell, Robert Saxton, Clare Hammond

Certainly one of the highlight of the week was an English Song recital given by the acclaimed baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Susie Allan. The first half of their programme consisted of songs by contemporary composers including the premiere of Ian Venables’s recent song What Then?

Roderick Williams, Susie Allan

Writing for Midland Music Reviews Christopher Morley wrote, “…premiered in this group was Ian Venables’ What then?, a chilling setting of W.B. Yeats’ thought-provoking questioning poem. Brilliantly structured, with an inexorably trudging piano-part and a gripping refrain at the end of each verse, it ends with a huge final reiteration of the question. What then? Huge applause for Venables, the featured composers assembled here, and not least for Roderick Williams and Susie Allan” 

In a review for Seen and Heard John Quinn wrote “…Ian Venables’ What then? is the last in a set of Eight Songs for Baritone and Piano, Op 41. Venables’ setting of this Yeats poem is slow and solemn – the low piano part is suggestive of a slow march. This questioning, powerful refection builds to a powerful closing climax. It’s a fine song…”

Requiem Op.48 – London Premiere

“a contemplative work of profound beauty”

Holy Trintiy Church, Slaoane St, London

The composer’s Requiem was given its London premiere on the 2nd July by the award winning choral group, Evoke conduced by Victoria Ely. A  clearly delighted composer recieved rapturous applause and a standing ovation from an enthusiatic audience.

Victoria Ely and Ian Venables

The reviewer Robert Hugill described the Requiem as “a contemplative work of profound beauty” and a “significant contemporary Requiem” 

For the full review please CLICK here


“Even on just one hearing I’m in no doubt that this is a work of considerable importance and stature” – Seen and Heard  Review – John Quinn

See also Church Times – Review by Roderic Dunnett




A New Score From Novello

After ten years of wrangling over copyright problems this score has finally been published. The fifth song on the cycle was originally a setting of the poem ‘Reluctance’ by Robert Frost.  The Trustees of the estate have put an embargo on composers setting Frost’s poetry no matter what kind of composition was being written. There were to be no exceptions and so Ian venables’ setting of Reluctance suffered the same fate. The only way forward was for the composer to reset the song with a different poem. In 2018 the composer collaborated with the poet Jim Dening on a new text that would replace Frost’s poem.  Jim Dening’s poem ‘Ending’ was the result. The composer wrote in his forward to the cycle, ” The new text has exceeded all my expectations and although the poem has a different narrative from Frost’s, it is nevertheless and exquisitely beautiful poem that seamlessly realises both the structure and the subtly changing moods of the original setting”

This set of songs takes its name from Plato’s Symposium and consist of setting texts by Constantine P. Cavafy, Federico Garcia Lorca, Jean de Sponde, Emperor Hadrian, Jim Denning and William Butler Yeats.

To purchase and for further information please click this link.

Ending by Jim Dening

Haunting the streets of the past
I came upon those few places
where I found the tender warmth
of bygone friends and their graces;
and have come to mourn and implore
the ghosts of their faces.

The images fade like dead leaves,
with winds of winter abating;
they fall away one by one,
none but the most precious creating
a vision of some one now
who may be still waiting.

In our mem’ries are scraps of our lives
when we could be carefree and careless;
but some we cling to and guard
as if to redress an old promise,
though distance and heartbreak and loss
will have wiped out all solace.

Ah, here is the very place
where we parted as if we were sleeping;
we parted, and still now
I see past calling, past keeping,
the face or its ghost look back,
smiling, not weeping.

‘The Song of the Severn’ – Performance

11th May, Ivor Gurney Hall, King’s School, Gloucester

Performed by Andrew Randall (baritone), Eric McElroy (piano) and the Carducci String Quartet 


The Ivor Gurney and Arthur Bliss Societies present a programme of music that will feature the 2nd UK performance of the composer’s chamber song cycle, The Song of the Severn.

This work was commisisoned by the Malvern Concert Club for their 2013 concert season and it was given it premiere at the Malvern Theatres by Roderic Williams, Tom Poster and the Carducci String Quartet.



It was later recorded for Signum Records. Click Here for details


CLICK below for an audio extract of On Malvern Hill



 Requiem Mass – Premiere

Gloucester Cathedral Choir, conducted by Adrian Partington

2nd November 2018

In 2017 the composer was commissioned by Bryce and Cynthia Somerville to write a Requiem Mass in memory of their parents. The Mass was given its premiere on All Souls’ Day 2018 by Adrian Partington and the choir of Gloucester Cathedral and the Introit was published earlier that year under the title of Requiem Aeternam (see below)

Review of the premiere by John Quinn for ‘SEEN AND HEARD’


Review  of the premiere by Roderic Dunnett for the ‘CHURCH TIMES’

Requiem ‘Introit published by Novello


“Ian Venables’ setting of the Introit from the start of a Requiem Mass is a beautifully expressive response to the words – one feels not only that every syllable has significance, but there is an almost hypnotic quality to the repetitions of short phrases”  Julian Elloway, Royal School of Church Music

For further details and music score please click the LINK below

The Introit was recently recorded for SOMM RECORDS by the chapel choir of The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, conducted by William Vann.

It is now available on a CD of Remembrance music that also includes a new arrangement of Faure’s Requiem.

“Fauré’s Requiem, arranged for choir and organ by Iain Farrington, and Ian Venables’ newly-composed Requiem Aeternam (in its first recording) both offer succor and solace in their conviction that death is not the end but, as Fauré thought of it: “a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience.” NAXOS REVIEW

To listen to the Introit and to purchase the CD please click the Link below