“Hands, Eyes, and Heart”:
Vaughan Williams, Bingham, and Cooke
7.30pm, Saturday 7 May 2022
Pre-concert talk by Gregory Rose at 7pm
St Pancras Parish Church, NW1 2BA
The LFCCM Festival Singers
Paul Plummer Organ and Piano
Christopher Batchelor Direction
- Jesu, dulcis memoriaJudith Bingham
- Ave virgo sanctissimaJudith Bingham
- Mass in G MinorRalph Vaughan Williams
- The Pilgrimes TravelsJudith Bingham
- Sing, O HeavensJudith Bingham
- Procrisfrom Four Last SongsRalph Vaughan Williams, Jonathan Wikeley (Arranger)
- Tiredfrom Four Last SongsRalph Vaughan Williams, Jonathan Wikeley (Arranger)
- Hands, Eyes, and Heartfrom Four Last SongsRalph Vaughan Williams, Jonathan Wikeley (Arranger)
- Menelausfrom Four Last SongsRalph Vaughan Williams, Jonathan Wikeley (Arranger)
- The Morning Star fades from the skyJudith Bingham
- Festival Te DeumPhillip Cooke
Festival commissionWorld premiere
Ursula Wood married Ralph Vaughan Williams in the vestry chapel of St Pancras Parish Church in 1953. The Festival celebrates this occasion, and the 150th anniversary of Vaughan Williams’ birth, with the world premiere of a specially commissioned choral arrangement of his Four Last Songs, alongside his Mass in G Minor, choral works by Judith Bingham, and the world premiere of Phillip Cooke’s new Festival Te Deum.
Born in Nottingham in 1952, Judith Bingham studied composition and singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Her composition studies with Alan Bush and Eric Fenby were later supplemented by lessons from Hans Keller. She was awarded the Principal’s prize in 1971 and, six years later, the BBC Young Composer award. Other composition prizes include the Barlow Prize for a cappella music (2004) and three British Composer Awards (two in 2004, one in 2006). She was made a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music in 2007.
Her first commissions, in the 1970s, were from The Finchley Children’s Music Group, The King’s Singers, and Peter Pears, but she also wrote 4 pieces for the newly formed Songmaker’s Almanac, and a string of chamber works for, amongst others, the New London Consort; she was one of the first composers to write contemporary music for medieval instruments. In 1983, she joined The BBC Singers as a full time member of the chorus and toured extensively with them, singing many solo parts. She left the group at the end of 1995 to concentrate on her activities as a composer, though she continued to sing professionally for some years.
Judith has enjoyed a long association with The BBC Singers, both as a singer and as a formal Composer in Association. On first joining the group she wrote a series of choral works, many of them based on texts compiled from disparate sources as an integral part of the compositional process. Several of these were for The BBC Singers, but there were also pieces for other professional, amateur and collegiate choirs, including Salt in the Blood, written for the BBC Symphony Chorus to perform at the 1995 Proms, a Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis for King’s College, Cambridge, and diverse anthems and church works for St John’s College, Cambridge, the cathedrals of Winchester and Lichfield, and Westminster Abbey.
Judith has been involved in many education projects, with the LSO, the BBC Philharmonic, and the BBC Young Composer of the Year. Recent premieres include Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, a new piece for girl’s voices commissioned by the City of London Festival and first performed by the combined girls’ choirs of Southwark and Guildford Cathedral, in Southwark Cathedral, London.
Jonathan Wikeley is Director of Music at All Saints Church, Fulham and Choral Consultant and Editor for Hal Leonard Europe. He also works as a freelance journalist, composer and music arranger, including commissions from choirs as diverse as Whitstable Choral Society and The BBC Singers. In 2020 over 20,000 people sang his arrangements for Gareth Malone’s “Great British Home Chorus”. He has written for publications in Britain and the USA and has spoken about early music for BBC Radio 3. He conducts several ensembles in London, and has accompanied Ladysmith Black Mambazo at the Royal Opera House. His arrangements and compositions have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4 and published and performed around the world.
Phillip Cooke was born in Cumbria in 1980, spending the first 18 years of his life in the Lake District. He studied composition in Durham and Manchester Universities and for a PhD with Anthony Powers at Cardiff University. In 2012 Phillip was a winner of the Musica Sacra International Composers Competition which led to performances in Poland and Lithuania. In 2016 he won the Gesualdo Six Composition Prize for his motet Judas mercator pessimus. In 2017 his anthem For He is Our Peace won the Tenth Annual Anthem Competition in Worcester, Massachusetts, and in 2020 his work Ave Maria, mater Dei won the ORTUS prize.
Recent works have been featured at The London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, the Lake District Summer Music Festival, Tête à Tête Opera Festival, Musica Sacrae (Poland), Sound Festival (Aberdeen), St Magnus Festival, The Cumnock Tryst and the John Armitage Memorial (JAM) concerts. Phillip’s works have been performed in many of the leading cathedrals and churches in the UK by ensembles including The BBC Singers and The Sixteen.
His work has regularly been premiered and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and has also recently been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and Classic FM. His large-scale choral/orchestral work Noah’s Fire was premiered in Chester Cathedral in November 2015. A CD of his choral works performed by the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge and Onyx Brass was released to great acclaim on Regent Records in 2014, and recordings of his pieces The Eternal Ecstasy (recorded by Selwyn in 2015) and The World on Fire (recorded by the Choir of The Queen’s College, Oxford in 2017) have reached the classical charts top 10.
Phillip is strongly influenced by his native Lake District and its history. His main musical influences are found in continuing and reconciling a pastoral British tradition; he has written articles on James MacMillan, Edward Elgar, Herbert Howells, Francis Pott, and British secular Requiem settings. He co-edited a book of essays on Howells, published in 2013, and wrote the first major study on MacMillan’s music, published in 2019.
From 2007 to 2008 he was a Career Development Fellow at the Faculty of Music, Oxford University and a Junior Research Fellow at The Queen’s College, Oxford from 2007 to 2010. He was composition tutor at Eton College from 2011 to 2012. In 2013 he was appointed a Lecturer in Composition at Aberdeen University, becoming Deputy Head in 2015, Senior Lecturer in 2017, and Head of Music from 2018 to 2021. His choral music is published by Novello and Schott.
The LFCCM Festival Singers
The Festival’s own professional vocal ensemble, The LFCCM Festival Singers, expands and augments the Choir of St Pancras Parish Church with additional singers from London’s world-class choral institutions. Most members of the ensemble have come from a collegiate background and gone on to study as postgraduate students at one of the London conservatoires. This combination of superb sight-reading and world-class vocal training gives the group tremendous flexibility, enabling the performance of a repertory that spans five centuries: ranging from motets from the Eton Choirbook to new commissions by composers such as Roxanna Panufnik, Michael Berkeley, Cecilia McDowall, Howard Skempton, Michael Finnissy, Gabriel Jackson, Francis Pott, Sebastian Forbes, Francis Grier, Kerry Andrew, Antony Pitts, and many more.
Paul Plummer was Organ Scholar of New College, Oxford before moving to London to study piano accompaniment. He worked as Assistant Organist of St Marylebone Parish Church and Director of Music at St Stephen’s, Gloucester Road. At St Stephen’s in 1998, he set up the Rush-Hour Recital series which continues to attract substantial interest and is connected to the nearby Royal College of Music. He also oversaw the rebuild of the church’s large Norman & Beard organ before leaving in 2002.
Organ recital engagements include St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and Westminster Cathedral; he has also played on tour in the United States with the Cathedral Singers of Christ Church, Oxford and deputised in many British cathedrals. From 2008 to 2013 he lived in Germany and Austria, working as a pianist in opera houses, but has since been back in the UK working as a freelance vocal coach and piano accompanist. He has worked as a vocal coach for the young artist programmes of The Royal Opera and for the Polish National Opera in Warsaw, and accompanies rehearsals regularly for London choirs such as The BBC Singers and Chorus of Opera Rara. In October 2016, he was organist for the acclaimed CD of choral works by William Petter, Ablaze with Light.
During the Covid period Paul was the piano accompanist of many live-streamed concerts with the collective Proud Songsters (still available online), and also accompanied baritone Jamie W. Hall on a CD recording of Die Schöne Müllerin recently released on Convivium Records. He enjoys tweeting angrily as @LonOperaCoach.
Christopher Batchelor was an organ scholar of Hertford College, Oxford, during which time he was taught by James Dalton. After graduating he moved to Cambridge where, under the supervision of Peter le Huray, he pursued research into 17th century English church music, being awarded both an MPhil and a PhD. During this time he held positions at both Downing and Gonville & Caius Colleges.
Christopher moved to London in 1988, succeeding Christopher Bowers-Broadbent as Director of Music and Organist of St Pancras Parish Church. He has taught at a number of institutions, including University College School and the Royal Military School of Music where he was Professor of Orchestration and Arranging.
Following the re-establishment of the London College of Music in 2006, Christopher became head of the institution, working with many well-known colleagues and establishing a modern conservatoire. His contributions to education and contemporary church music have recently been acknowledged by the award of an Hon. FLCM.
Alongside his performing experience, he has a long-standing practical interest in the organ and was Managing Director of Harrison and Harrison Organ Builders until July 2017; his legacy has been described as “unprecedented”. He continues his association with the organ as an advisor/consultant.
Christopher founded The London Festival of Contemporary Church Music in 2002.