REQUIEM – PREMIERE RECORDING ON SOMM RECORDS
“Venables is the most significant British composer for voices to have emerged since Britten’s death forty-three years ago. [Venables’ Requiem] is both profoundly moving and highly original” Robert Matthew-Walker (The Organ)
“A subtle but gripping performance… If you think of new English music as hard on the ear and bereft of melody, Venables will force you to reconsider” Simon Heffer (The Telegraph)
“Even on just one hearing I’m in no doubt that this is a work of considerable importance and stature” – John Quinn for (SEEN AND HEARD)
“A Contemplative Work of Profound Beauty” – Robert Hugill
Ian Venables’ Requiem was commissioned by Bryce and Cynthia Somerville and was premiered at Gloucester Cathedral in November 2019, performed by the Choir of Gloucester Cathedral under the direction of Adrian Partington and organist, Jonathan Hope. This premiere recording on the award winning SOMM label also includes the first recording of the composer’s anthem O Sing Aloud To God and other works in the English choral tradition by Joubert and Sanders and the premiere recording of Ivor Gurney’s short anthem, God Mastering Me.
REQUIEM – CD REVIEW by Geoffrey Atkinson
“A major work from Ian Venables is always most welcome, but a masterpiece like this leaves me almost speechless” (Geoffrey Atkinson, BMS)
The Gramophone – Online ‘Blog’
A 21st century Requiem: Why did I write a work I didn’t want to write?
Ian Venables reflects upon his largest scale work to date and discusses how an unlikely commission took him in a creative direction that he never thought possible
TO READ – PLEASE CLICK HERE
REQUIEM – CD REVIEW by Robert Hugill
“This is a lovely disc, and the work itself is highly practical in terms of forces and size. It gets a fine performance from Adrian Partington and the Gloucester forces and the disc is bound to win a lot of friends for this richly sophisticated work. And I hope, tempt other choirs into performing it”.
PRESTO MUSIC – INTERVIEW
By David Smith
“bringing a melodious work of quiet profundity to a broader public”
CD REVIEWS OF REQUIEM FOR MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL
“Contemporary choral music which maintains a sense of continuity with the past, yet with a style of its own … first-rate recording”. Brian Wilson
“This is a CD to be recommended … The main event is clearly Ian Venables transcendent Requiem, which surely takes its place with Fauré, Duruflé and Howells”. John France
“A profoundly heartfelt work which contemplates more the grief of death than the anticipation of eternal peace… A disc for all lovers of the English cathedral tradition”. Marc Rochester
REQUIEM CD REVIEW
By James Manheim for ALL MUSIC
” … a shifting atmosphere that holds the listener’s attention at every moment … top-notch…”
“This is an important new setting of the requiem mass”.
SONGS AND SONG CYCLES – SIGNUM CLASSICS – NEW RELEASE
” … Venables is a very fine composer of songs, with a real feel for poetry…” Mark Pullinger (The Gramophone)
For further information and to order this Signum Classics CD please click HERE:
“This is, make no mistake, a superb disc” Geoffrey Atkinson (BMS Review)
This latest CD for Signum Classics brings together a collection of premiere recordings of the composer’s songs and song cycles. The centrepiece of the disc is a recording of Remember This – a cantata for soprano, tenor and piano quintet performed by Mary Bevan, Allan Clayton, the Carducci String Quartet and pianist, Graham J Lloyd. The linking ‘theme’ throughout the album is that ‘Love’ is eternal and that it transcends our earthly life. At this difficult time is hoped that the music may bring some consolation to those who listen.
“A notable addition to the discography of English song … [and] … an essential purchase for all collectors who appreciate English song” John Quinn (Musicweb International)
For John Quinn’s Review please click HERE
Signum Classics fourth disc on the label to include his songs …
“An impressive testament to Ian’s significant voice as a writer of contemporary British art song” Robert Hugill
To read Robert Hugill’s recent interview with the composer please click the link above.
‘A Lad’s Love’ – Brian Giebler (tenor) and Steven McGhee (piano)
Debut English Song CD
Brian Giebler is an extraordinarily gifted young singer who has been singled out by The New York Times, for his “lovely tone and deep expressively”. This award winning tenor’s debut CD, A Lad’s Love, presents an imaginatively conceived programme of English songs that “brings together the beauty created by Britain’s poets and composers in the face of lost youth, lost time, Lost love, Lost friends, and lost life in the turbulence years of the early 20th century.”
In his booklet notes, Brian Giebler explained the idea behind the album and of his keen interest in the song settings of A.E Housman. He had performed, with the pianist Steven McGhee Ivor Gurney’s song cycle, Ludlow and Teme for his final degree recital and “Ever since that first outing, we have wanted to record the work. A.E.Housman’s poetry, set by Gurney , was so affecting that we started digging for other settings by lesser-known British composers of that time”. That led us to John Ireland’s songs, and ultimately to living composer Ian Venables’ 21st Century setting of “Because I liked you better”.
SOMM RECORDS – CD ‘IN REMEMBRANCE’
The Introit from Ian Venables’ Requiem was released last year on SOMM RECORDS.
Performed by the chapel choir of The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, conducted by William Vann this CD of Remembrance music that also includes a wonderful 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
‘Poetry and Music – Sister Arts?’
The acclaimed poet and writer Jonathan Davidson discusses the poetry on Ian Venables’ new recording ‘Love Lives Beyond The Tomb’.
“I am beginning to understand what music and the human voice does to words that we so often just glance at on the page. The very artifice (I mean this positively) of setting words to music adds a resonance, a depth, a hinterland to even a quite simple lyric”.
For the full discussion please click HERE
An online interview with the composer for ‘Reader’s Digest’
What’s it like being a 21st Century Composer?
Three contemporary composers were each asked this question.
To find out what they said please CLICK the link below
Meet the Composer
First impressions: ‘A poem’s opening lines always inspires the music’ Born in Liverpool but now based in Worcester, Ian Venables is one of the UK’S leading composers of English art song. Love Lives Beyond the Tomb, a selection of Venables’s songs and song cycles, is out this month on Signum Classics, featuring the soprano Mary Bevan and tenor Allan Clayton.
New Publications From Novello
for S.A.T.B and Organ
To purchase copies please click the image above.
Ian Venables’ ‘Requiem’ was commissioned by Bryce and Cynthia Somerville and was premiered at Gloucester Cathedral in November 2019, 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
Review by Roderic Dunnett for the ‘CHURCH TIMES’
Introit – ‘Requiem Aeternam’
“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
“profoundly moving and highly original in terms of harmonic structure – subtle and refined”. Robert Matthew-Walker, The Organ Magazine
For further details and music score please click the LINK below
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.
‘On the Wings of Love’ Op.38
After ten years of wrangling over copyright problems this score has finally been published. The fifth song of 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 Dening and William Butler Yeats.
To purchase the score 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.
Eric McElroy – Piano Recital
17th January at 1 pm
Bourneville Lunchtime Concerts
A return visit by the brilliant young American pianist and composer now studying for a Phd at Oxford University and who has already brought us two remarkable concerts of English piano music. His recital with feature a performance of Ian Venables’ ‘The Stourhead Follies (Temple to Apollo; Palladio’s Bridge; Pantheon; The Grotto)
For tickets and further information please visit their website: http://bournvillelunchtimeconcerts.org.uk/
Also see PERFORMANCES page for further details or visit
Eric McElroy’s website at www.eric-mcelroy.com
‘A New Year’s Carol’ To Welcome In The New Decade
Awake, awake! The world is young,
For all its weary years of thought:
The starkest fights must still be fought,
The most surprising songs be sung.
Ian Venables set this inpirational poem as part of his choral work, ‘Awake, awake the world is young’ Op.34, commissioned by the Charlton King’s and Cirencester Choral Societies to celebrate the Millennium. Although, we are now some twenty years into the 21st century these words of hope and renewal are as relevent today as when they were first penned by James Elroy Flecker.