Friday, 21 November 2014
I'm really pleased to announce that I have been made the Official Composer for the REMEMBER WWI organisation!
REMEMBER WWI aims to inspire and encourage individuals, families, schools, communities and organisations to reflect on the sacrifice and service given during WW1 and the impact it had across society, and to get involved in volunteering and community projects around issues important to their communities.
Yesterday I attended the REMEMBER WWI launch, and you'll have to watch this space to see what my contribution is going to be! But what I can say at the moment is that huge plans are already in progress and the photo shows me putting my name on the pledge board and making my commitment.
Monday, 3 November 2014
I'm feeling chuffed today having just finished my new work for Daventry Choral Society for their 25th Anniversary Concert. It's the setting of a wonderful poem by Alfred Noyes called The Dane Tree.
Alfred Noyes wrote the poem especially to celebrate the opening in 1925 of, what was at the time, the largest broadcasting station in the world, and the first long-wave station by the BBC. As one author wrote "The poem stresses the strange and compelling contrast between ancient and modern on Dane Tree Hill, a site of historic importance, one of the oldest military encampments, and a place mentioned in Shakespeare's Henry VI."
The poem is very English and full of brooding, dark imagery which I hope I've conveyed by adding baritone solo to the choir and strings! Really looking forward to the premiere next April!
Thursday, 30 October 2014
As of 1st October 2014, all my future works will be published under Hawes Music Publishing! And I'm REALLY EXCITED to have the first score put in to print under the new company!
The first score is a carol written for Gresham's in Norfolk called 'The Stable Carol' - a lovely carol for unbroken voices due to be premiered at the school carol service on 13th December.
Although Novello will still publish all my works that I wrote between 2002 - 2014, the new company will publish all my future works - and it's a GREAT feeling to be self-publishing!
The new website (www.hawesmusic.com) is currently under construction and is where choirs and musicians will be able to purchase and hire scores for performance.
Friday, 24 October 2014
A couple of interesting features have just come my way that I thought I'd share!
The first is a nice article on the Making Music website about my new work with the Henley Aliquando Choir: http://www.makingmusic.org.uk/inyourarea/southeast/news/news/aliquando-choir-presents-world-premiere-to-mark-ww1-centenary
And the second is a beautiful video by MurleyDance showcasing their Autumn Tour using music from the Highgrove Suite:
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
The Angel of Mons world premiere was a resounding success on Saturday night. A capacity crowd and standing ovation proved to me that the new work captures the spirit of the WWI centenary. The players and singers were all so gifted and showed so much goodwill - a huge thank you to everyone involved!
Sopranos: Elizabeth Adams, Harriet Astbury, Shona Astbury, Emily Wilsea
Altos: Nick Robinson, Emma Wragg, Chlöe Pardoe, Hilary Punnett
Tenor: Cameron Richardson-Eames, Martin Pickering, Mark Wilde
Bass: Johnnie Riches, Padraig Staunton, Tim Emberson, Sachin Gunga
Orchestra: Caroline Siriwardena, Clare Bhabra, Kerry-Ann Geary, Hazel Parkes, Sara Chambers, Cassandra Hodgson, Deirdre Bencsik, Glenis Malkin, Ayse Osman, Hugh Webb
Below is a review of the night written my Maxine Adams:
Standing Ovation for World Premiere Performance
The Angel of Mons by Grimsby-born composer Patrick Hawes was received with a standing ovation by a capacity audience at its world premiere performance. The concert at St Michael & All Angels Church Edenham took place on August 23rd 2014, exactly one hundred years since the episode which has inspired its creation.
Much has been documented about the evening of August 23rd 1914, when, during fierce fighting, the Lincolnshire Regiment were among many men to see an Angel-like apparition in the sky and hear a man’s voice commanding them to “Go back, go back.” This event has become known as “The Angel of Mons” and is the only recorded “supernatural” event of the war. Patrick Hawes and his brother Andrew Hawes, librettist, have worked on the assumption that there was an Angel and “understood its intervention to be evidence of God’s pity for his children…”
The Angel of Mons, which formed the second half of the concert, is scored for soprano soloist, choir, strings and harp, and tells the story in six movements, from the optimistic march to Mons, the appearance of the Angel, through to the anxious wait of those left at home. Andrew Hawes’ words capture perfectly the gradual darkening of mood as the men, led off to “fight heroically” become “broken scattered, leaderless and lost”. The Angel is set apart, singing words based on scripture.
Patrick Hawes’ music took the listener on an emotional journey at the end of which it was impossible to remain unaffected. The relentless and sinister beat of the opening march For King and Country gave way to the intimate scoring of Angel’s Charge - a delicate interplay between solo violin and soprano soloist - the Angel. The terrifying March to Mons was dramatically depicted by the full forces of choir and orchestra. There were moments of exquisite beauty in Out of the Depths as the Angel’s voice soared above the choir. Perhaps the most moving section of all was the final movement Let Them Give Thanks Whom The Lord Has Redeemed - the simultaneous singing of Psalm 107 by men’s voices, along with the well known hymn tune Glory to Thee my God, this night, sung by high voices, as the women waited anxiously at home, alone.
Specially formed for the performance, the Edenham Festival Consort was made up of singers and players from around the region, including students from Birmingham Conservatoire and Trinity College Cambridge. The choir sang with a professionalism all the more impressive as they had only come together three days before the concert. The small and extremely able string orchestra was led by Caroline Siriwardena, and special mention must go to harpist Hugh Webb who played such a pivotal role throughout. Soloists were Grace Davidson (soprano), who sang the role of the Angel with breathtaking beauty, Mark Wilde (tenor) and Martin Pickering (baritone) who gave moving performances during the first half of the concert.
In his introduction, Patrick Hawes explained to the audience that he had failed to find a larger stage for the first performance of The Angel of Mons, hence the decision to hold the concert at Edenham. As the last notes drifted away, there was a lengthy, eloquent silence. Judging by the applause and standing ovation that followed, the audience at Edenham felt themselves privileged to have been part of this world premiere performance.
Friday, 15 August 2014
The WWI Centenary Partnership recently interviewed me about my works connected to The Great War and you can see my interview either by being a member of the partnership and clicking HERE to link to their website:
if you're not a member you can click HERE and use this link to see a copy.
Tickets for the WORLD PREMIERE concert of The Angel of Mons on 23rd August 2014 can be purchase HERE.
Monday, 4 August 2014
On my album Angel there is a track called Out Of The Depths. This is an excerpt from a larger work called The Angel of Mons and I am writing this blog as the piece is nearing completion.
Yesterday there was a large article in the Telegraph about 'myths' surrounding the war - I did not even bother to read it because I am well aware of what the doubters say and the elaborate explanations they give to 'prove' that the apparition could not have appeared. To them I say it is far easier not to believe than to believe. What would the writer of yesterday's article say if confronted face-to-face by a soldier who fought in the battle of Mons and actually witnessed the angel? To me, it is entirely feasible that an angel of God should appear at a time of such crisis in the history of mankind.
While writing this work I have come to feel great empathy with the innocent young men who, on the one hand, were keen to fight for King and Country, and on the other, had no idea whatsoever of the horrors that were to befall them. My brother's libretto perfectly capture the spirit of optimism which soon became discoloured during the march to Mons; the use of the psalms is a perfect way of connecting with the prayers of both those who fought and those who waited anxiously at home.
As well as Out Of The Depths the soprano soloist has two other solos - Angel's Charge and Angel's Lament. One of these is accompanied by solo violin the other by string quartet, and both rely on plainsong. It is important that the angel is set apart from the rest of the performers, singing words entirely based on scripture.
I am so looking forward to the premiere on 23rd August which will be the exact centenary of the apparition. The concert is taking place at my brother's church in Lincolnshire and all profits will go to the Royal Anglian Regiment Benevolent Charity.
The Angel of Mons concert is on 23rd August 2014 at 7:30pm in St Michael & All Angels Church, Edenham (nr. Bourne), Lincolnshire, PE10 0LS.
Tickets priced at £20, £15 and £10 are available by clicking here.
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
Well, it's been a busy few days!
Last week I delivered my lecture to the Temenos Academy (Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales). Entitled 'The Emperor's New Clothes: A Vision of British Music in the 21st Century', I outlined where I think our nation's music is headed and where it needs to go, covering some very contentious issues along the way!!! The transcript and audio recording will be available soon.
Then it was on to the beautiful Romsey Abbey to rehearse and conduct the Winchester Consort in a repeat of the sensational concert we gave in Winchester Cathedral a couple of years ago. The concert was part of a the Romsey Festival and we had a really lovely programme of music: Vaughan Williams, Harris, Parry and a few of my works including The Twenty-Third Psalm, Out of the Depths and Song of Songs. The consort sounded as fantastic as always.
Thursday, 3 July 2014
Really enjoyed chatting to Suzy Klein on BBC Radio 3's In Tune programme yesterday.
Recorded in the main BBC Radio Broadcasting House, I was there to talk about the inspiration behind my new work 'Eventide: In Memoriam Edith Cavell' which is to be premiered in Norwich Cathedral on 12th July 2014.
We also discussed another premiere I have coming up connected with the First World War; The Angel of Mons will be premiered in my brother's church in Edenham Lincolnshire, and they played an excerpt from it Out of the Depths which also appeared on my album Angel.
So lots happening and we had lots to talk about about!
Tickets for The Angel of Mons are now on sale at www.eventbrite.co.uk
Sunday, 22 June 2014
Do you sing in a choir?
Is your choir looking for new repertoire to mark the centenary of the First World War?
Why not use some of these new works that I've written for various choirs, and be amongst the first choirs to perform the works after their premieres?
Click HERE for an interactive version of the advert to see the scores or hear excerpts of the music.
Wednesday, 11 June 2014
I got home late last night from London after an amazing few days. We stayed very near to St John's Smith Square and I came to realise what a fantastic part of London this is. The weather was amazing on Sunday evening and it was great to feel like a tourist walking over Westminster Bridge past the London Eye and back through Whitehall. We took the picture below of me outside St John's during our walk when we had a quick look around ahead of the big day.
Me outside St John's the night before the concert
Then came the day of the concert! There was so much to do and I was lucky I could take a back seat from this as my manager Andy Berry took care of everything so I could focus on the music - getting the tea and coffee ready for the performers during the rehearsal, making sure that the risers on stage were out and at the right height, that seats and stands were in the right place and making sure everyone had their music etc etc.
In all we had five hours of rehearsals - Edward Higginbottom polished the choir-only items and then the orchestra arrived with the soloist singers. The rehearsals ended with Clio Gould playing 'Angel Song' which left us all in a wonderfully mellow mood ahead of the concert.
Then the audience started to arrive with lots of people buying tickets on the door and the hall was almost full. As I walked on to the stage I could see a mass of faces and this really fired me up. It was great to see some of the Classic FM team there including John Suchet, Jane Jones and Margherita Taylor.
L-R: John Suchet, me, Jane Jones
Every single item went according to plan and I couldn't have asked any more from the performers with wonderful solos by Nick Pritchard (tenor) and Grace Davidson (soprano). The final cadence of Handel's 'Let their celestial concerts all unite' from Samson was nothing short of electric and sparked off rapturous applause. For me to conduct such wonderful music by my absolute hero George Frideric Handel alongside my own music with world-class performers is an experience I will never forget. Thank you to all who took part and thank you too to the warm appreciative audience.
Taking a bow: Me with the RPO, Choir of New College Oxford, Edward Higginbottom, Nick Pritchard (tenor) and Grace Davidson (soprano)
Thursday, 5 June 2014
Presenter Nick Conrad is a good friend of mine and it was really enjoyable today to be interviewed by him on his BBC Radio Norfolk show. It's the longest radio interview I've ever had - a full 45 minutes.
During the interview he played four tracks from the Angel album, chatted with me about my inspirations, and received calls from various listeners to the show. I was touched by how open people were when talking about their experiences of angels and I was so pleased we linked in Jacky Newcomb. Jacky is an angel expert and best-selling author and spoke so much sense about the limitations of human perception and certainly enhanced my grasp of why so many people have difficulty believing in the invisible!
Nick and his producer are keen to have me back on the show soon so watch this space!
In case you missed the interview you can listen to it on the BBC iPlayer - scroll through to 02:14:14 to hear my bit.
P.S. Don't forget the Angel concert at St John's Smith Square this coming Monday! Be sure to book ahead by clicking HERE.
Monday, 2 June 2014
The final stages of my concert preparations are under way!
It's only a week now until the Angel music is premiered at St John's Smith Square, London at 7:30pm on 9th June and I'm so looking forward to conducting the Choir of New College Oxford and the RPO again!
The concert has been months in the planning, starting in January with co-ordinating diaries for the choir, orchestra, venue and soloists, then organising the musical format for the evening and getting the right scores out to the right performers. We've just collected the programmes that will be on sale at the concert and then there are all the little, but very important, details to do with rehearsal schedule, refreshments, dress, changing rooms etc etc!
Now I need to focus on the music - these days I really like to conduct from memory so there is a lot of score preparation to do. I've also decided that I want harp continuo in the three Handel pieces - this means getting some more parts prepared and sent off to the fantastic harpist and my good friend Hugh Webb.
St John's is now reasonably full but, in a desire to see it packed, we are constantly in touch with people trying to get their help in promoting the event. So, back to work!
If you are reading this ahead of the concert I'd just like to say please come to the concert and do say hello afterwards!
Click here to buy your tickets for the Angel concert direct from the St John's Smith Square Box Office.
Thursday, 29 May 2014
Come and join me this Saturday (31st May) outside The Forum in Norwich where I'll be talking to BBC presenters David Whiteley and Nick Conrad as part of the BBC's World War I at Home tour of the country.
I'll be talking about the war's influence on my work, including the Angel album and my new work about WWI heroine Edith Cavell. I'll also be playing my two piano pieces from the Angel album LIVE on stage!
I'll be on stage from 11:15 and again at 13:40.
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
Here's my latest newsletter with all the news about my upcoming concerts and lecture!
If you want to use all the links on the newsletter, click here and it will upload a more interactive version:
Hope to see you at one of these events!
If you want to use all the links on the newsletter, click here and it will upload a more interactive version:
Hope to see you at one of these events!
Tuesday, 29 April 2014
(L-R) Tony Blackburn, me, Christina Lamb
Radio 4 presenter Paddy O'Connell and me
Really enjoyed my time on BBC Radio 4's 'Broadcasting House' programme on Sunday morning.
I was on with the radio DJ legend Tony Blackburn and Christina Lamb, author and Foreign Correspondent for The Sunday Times, along with our host Paddy O'Connell.
We had a great time trawling through the papers for the stories that grabbed our attention. In the mix were the current hot topic about the UK being a 'post Christian nation', the tragic helicopter accident in Afghanistan, the threat to mangos(!) by a certain type of white fly which means imports to the UK may be stopped, and the film remake of Dad's Army! Quite a mix which ensured a lively debate!
Hope you got to hear it. If not, click here for the link to the recording and just scroll through to 43:54 for the relevant section.
Follow Patrick on his Website, on Facebook and on Twitter.
Patrick will be LIVE in concert on 9th June 2014 at St John's Smith Square. Click here to book your tickets.
Thursday, 24 April 2014
Great to see three of my pieces again in the Classic FM Hall of Fame 2014!
Fair Albion (272), Quanta Qualia (225) and the Highgrove Suite (223) all feature in this year's chart of the best 300 pieces of classical music of all time as voted by the Classic FM listeners.
Thank you to all who voted for me!
Friday, 11 April 2014
Earlier this week I was Classic FM's guest on their Wednesday Web Chat, where I was available to take questions from presenter Tim Lihoreau and the Classic FM audience about me and my work. If you missed it you can still see the conversation thread here.
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
Amazing news! Just heard that Angel has gone to NUMBER ONE in the classical charts! Thank you to all of you who have bought a copy and spread the word.
It's a real landmark in my career and something I have dreamed of for years, and for all the hard work to finally come to fruition is a great feeling.
Please keep telling your family and friends about the album so we can now keep it at the top spot!
Order your copy at Amazon and iTunes.
Monday, 24 March 2014
Yesterday was a great experience for me. I was up at 6am to get to the BBC building in Great Portland Street by 7am - I was met by the BBC producer Caroline Donne and taken up to the 6th floor. It was like a maze up there and tucked away in the corner in a very nice studio I met Clare Balding. What a lovely person she is! She is so natural, charming and attractive. My chat with her felt so natural and I was totally unaware that over 2 million people were listening in! Giving the 'Moment of Reflection' just before 8am felt like a real privilege. When we weren't live on air I was able to talk to her about one of my main interests - horse racing!
If you missed the interview, you can still hear it on the BBC Radio 2 website by clicking here. If you want to fast forward to my bits here are the time references: 23:10 mins to 29:48, 48:18 to 53:35, and 56.44 onwards.
Thursday, 20 March 2014
Tickets are now on sale for the 'Angel' concert on 9th June at St John's Smith Square, London. The Box Office is open at http://www.sjss.org.uk/events/angel and book soon - the tickets are already moving quickly!
I'll be joined by Grace Davidson, the Choir of New College Oxford and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for an evening of music from the album and beautiful angel-related music from the Renaissance and Baroque. It promises to be a really fantastic evening.
Tuesday, 18 March 2014
Monday, 10 March 2014
Really pleased to report that ANGEL has gone straight in at Number 2 in the Classical Charts! Many thanks to all those who have bought or downloaded the album.
Thursday, 6 March 2014
The sheet music for pieces from the Angel album are now available to order from the Music Sales website!
Do you sing in a choir? If so, why not be among some of the first people in the world to perform these new works?!
Among the pieces now available are Factum est Silentium, Archangel Suite and Quem Pastores.
Monday, 3 March 2014
Today is a really special day for me. It feels like the culmination of two years' work.
It's almost a year ago now since we recorded the Angel album in Oxford and I had the first ideas for the music at least a year before that. It has been quite moving for me to hear some of the tracks played on Classic FM, Radio 2 and Radio 3 as well as other independent stations.
I really do hope this music reaches as many people as possible and we can get it to No. 1 in the classical charts!
Angel is released today 3rd March and you can order your copy at Amazon and iTunes.
If you would like to hear my Classic FM interview on Charlotte Green's Culture Club follow these instructions: Go to the http://www.classicfm.com/ website, click on the 'Listen' button at the top of the screen and in the screen that opens go to the 'Listen again' tab. Select 'Charlotte Green's Culture Club (2nd March)' from the list and scroll through to 01:21:48 for my part of the interview.
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
My new album, Angel, has been made ALBUM OF THE WEEK on Classic FM this week ahead of its release next Monday.
John Suchet plays a different track from the album each day this week. On Monday he started with Out of the Depths and today he played Angel Song. Keep listening in this week to hear more tracks from the album!
Angel is released 3rd March and you can pre-order your copy at Amazon and iTunes.