We’re extremely proud and excited to have two specially commissioned pieces on the album – Alexander Campkin’s Bright Shadows, and Andrew Cusworth’s Composed Upon Westminster Bridge. For a new choir, to perform and record new music is a first step full of excitement and possibility, and that atmosphere has carried into the album as a whole.
I met Andrew when I came to Cambridge a couple of years ago. I was thinking of applying to the MMus course and Andrew was studying for it at the time. We met for tea and he was friendly, helpful and inspiring. We have stayed in touch ever since and in December 2011, I conducted the American debut of his piece Drop down, ye heavens in concert and with a music video alongside (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAN4A-XSYaE). When I was thinking of commissioning pieces for our debut album, Andrew was the first person I thought of. I am so excited at being able to support and showcase an incredibly gifted composer, not to mention a great friend.
When I heard Alexander Campkin’s I Saw Eternity, I was hooked by the second bar. Joachim, Nils and I were sitting in their living room searching through tracks, when we came across this powerful piece. Jumping up in excitement, I immediately sent him an email, asking if we could record I Saw Eternity for the album and suggesting that he could write something new for us, too. Delightfully, the answer to both suggestions was yes. Alexander wrote Bright Shadows using parts of the theme from I Saw Eternity, and the result is so beautiful and haunting that I chose it as the title track for the album. I’m very excited to soon, share it with all of you.
Once we had our commissioned tracks chosen, it was a matter of finding the other pieces of the puzzle. I searched hundreds of other tracks, read through scores, and asked friends about their favourite composers. Although I searched through masses of music, I immediately knew when I had come across a piece that was right, and before long I had assembled a list of the music the album couldn’t be without. The pieces I have chosen are the ones that I simply couldn’t keep to myself.