Panufnik and Campkin World Premieres this weekend

Panufnik and Campkin World Premieres this weekend
© Andrew Palmer / A P Wilding

Roxanna Panufnik's Nocturn and Alexander Campkin's Dance of the Sunbeams will both be premiered this Saturday, June 22 in the UK.

Nocturn was commissioned by Merton College, Oxford and sponsored by Nigel Hamway. The work will be sung by the Choir of Merton College, conducted by Benjamin Nicholas at their 6pm Evensong service.
On composing the anthem, Panufnik says:

When Benjamin Nicholas asked me to set this text, for Merton College Choir, I’m ashamed that I knew only of Peter Abelard by name. I loved the possibilities of musical light and shade in this text. The Nocturn service takes place very late at night (or extremely early in the morning), so the atmosphere is hushed, at first – the new baby, John the Baptist, arrives but anticipation of another even more important imminent birth means it’s hard to contain excitement, the singing leaps out with ’gaudia’/joys. In the introduction to the second verse/stanza quiet, nocturnal anticipation returns but it quickly overridden by ‘gloria’/glory and the optimism of further new life to come.

I have used the only surviving hymn melody composed by Peter Abelard as a basis of this piece and although I’ve gone for a more naturalistic setting of the text I’ve used a 7/8 time signature as a nod to the 7 syllables of each verse and because of its capacity to make you feel like your heart’s missing a beat, in all this anticipation and excitement. 


Shortly afterwards, the Leeds Philharmonic Chorus, conducted by Joseph Judge and accompanied by organist Ed Jones, will perform the premiere of Campkins Dance of the Sunbeams at Bolton Abbey in their concert of summer music. 
Campkin describes the work below:

I was inspired by the imagery and emotion of the stunning poem by Bliss Carman Dance of the Sunbeams. I have tried to depict the different layers of meaning within the text. Sometimes the music is playful, sometimes fiery, and sometimes quieter and introspective. My tempo indication is 'Merry as running laughter', and the direction in the organ part is 'Bright, like sunbeams sparkling, leaping, and racing', lines borrowed from the poem. The organ is written mostly for the manuals. Pedals are used sparingly and for a special moments only.

Find out more and get your tickets here

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