A Lifetime of Music
This adventurous project will create a permanent record of my music for choir on the Resonus label, sung by leading professional choir Sonoro.
What is being recorded?
These innovative pieces have been written and performed in a career of thirty years plus. I’ve been lucky enough to have some broadcast, some recorded already. My choral music has been sung and recorded by leading choirs: Chester, Southwark and Blackburn Cathedrals, Chetham’s Chamber Choir and the Rodolfus Choir amongst others. Now I want to bring it all together on one CD, performed by Sonoro, one of the most exciting choirs around right now. This CD will make my music available to a much wider audience. It will complement my existing, high quality Resonus recording of songs.
Through a Glass, with Marcus Farnsworth, James Baillieu and instruments directed by Thomas Kemp, was released in 2014 and described in The Observer as ‘enthralling’.
Who is singing?
Choosing Sonoro, directed by Neil Ferris is very much key to this project. They produce one of the most vibrant choral sounds around, while singing with great beauty. They produce a committed sound, with a major emphasis on text. This has always been a core element of my pieces and resonates with my own choral conducting with Chester Bach Singers, Chetham’s Chamber and the BBC Daily Service Singers.
What will it sound like?
This is not going to be a fragile, ethereal soupy CD! It will be a strong, dynamic listening experience that communicates a range of texts from Oscar Wilde and the Venerable Bede to Charles I!
Why record now?
This project has been inspired by the great success of my monodrama about Mary Tudor, Mary’s Hand. This re-assessment of a key historical female figure is now touring throughout the UK.
(Photo: Robert Workman)
Collaborating with performer Clare McCaldin and writer/director Di Sherlock in making the opera opened new experiences to me. Discussing the CD with Neil Ferris and Michael Higgins the co-directors of Sonoro has already provided a similar musical stimulus. For me, the finished composition is the musical starting point, not the end. The active involvement of the performers is vital.
A bit about the composer
My background as a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge under Philip Ledger set very high musical standards in my music making. I’ve maintained them as a professional singer in many fields, as a choral conductor, and now in my mature style as a composer. Using Sonoro and Resonus ensures a CD rehearsed, performed and recorded at the highest levels. This reflects the standards I’ve always aspired to in my own performances and those of my students at Chetham’s and at Manchester University.
A classic product means the music will stand on its own feet. It will make a strong contribution to the genre and empower listeners to make their own judgement about my music.
What are you fundraising for?
Recording with such a top-rate choir is not a cheap option! This crowdfunder aims to add to grants from musical charities and private funding which are earmarked to pay the professional fees. Money raised here will cover the background costs: hire of the fantastic venue, St Jude’s Hampstead, the cost of the actual recording itself, distribution, printing scores, etc.
What do others say?
"Sonoro are delighted to be recording Martin’s music. He is a real singer’s composer and his superbly-crafted choral music is a welcome addition to the repertoire. We are so pleased that Martin has chosen us for this disc and to help disseminate his excellent music further afield.” Michael Higgins and Neil Ferris, Sonoro Artistic Directors
"Martin's monodrama Mary’s Hand is a singer’s dream; a hugely satisfying dramatic solo work, requiring technical skill and expressive range. The score is rich in opportunities for characterisation and you can feel in the writing that Martin is himself a singer. The piece is so much fun to perform. I absolutely love it!" Clare McCaldin