Enormous thanks go to the two choirs and two record labels which have released two brand new CDs of Bob’s choral music. The British choir, Commotio, has recorded All Good Things for Naxos, with Bob sharing the conducting with Matthew Berry, and Alex Hawkins playing jazz piano, and the American choir, Choralis, has taken a different set of repertoire, primarily for choir and brass, to record In Winter’s Arms for Signum Records.
All Good Things is Commotio’s second Chilcott Naxos disc and includes the Nidaros Jazz Mass, Jazz Songs of Innocence, and Ophelia, Caliban, and Miranda, together with Weather Report, The Real of Heart, Thou, my love, art fair, and two jazz folksongs.
In October the next phase in the collaboration with Washington, DC-based choir, Choralis, saw the release of a CD containing the Gloria, Wenceslas, My Perfect Stranger, The Nine Gifts, and Jesus, Springing. Gretchen Kuhrmann conducts Choralis and DC musicians in their first Chilcott disc, music which is suitable for programming over the Christmas season.
Bob has been honoured as a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music, an award for achievements in church music which have international significance, and in 2017 Bob is one of six recipients. The RSCM is a worldwide organisation which offers support and materials for Church musicians, and Bob is thrilled to be recognised by it.
In 2017 he was short-listed for an RPS (Royal Philharmonic Society) Award for his 2016 work The Voyage. The commission came from Age UK and was the brainchild of Paul Cann, then CEO of Age UK Oxfordshire, forming a part of a project to highlight and combat loneliness in people of all ages. The libretto is by poet Charles Bennett, with whom Bob has made several collaborations.
Bob sang with the King’s Singers for 12 years, and congratulates the group on reaching its half centenary. In February the singers recorded an anniversary disc, Gold, which includes a brand new commission, We Are, and an arrangement of Shenandoah. Bob was delighted to join them at the sessions, and at their US Summer School in De Pauw, IN in June. In April 2018 he and they, with Simon Carrington, perform with massed choirs at New York’s Carnegie Hall in a DCINY concert.
We Are will be published in January 2019, once the anniversary year is complete. Details are on the OUP website, where it’s possible to pre-order copies. Gold is available from Signum.
Over the Summer, Bob participated in two very successful choral festivals in Norway, performing his Little Jazz Mass at Coralua in Trondheim and his Missa Cantate and Ophelia, Caliban, and Miranda for the Norwegian Choral Association. He returned to Scandinavia in the Autumn, to Haderslav in Denmark in September for a weekend of youth choir singing, and to Helsinki to adjudicate for Let the Peoples Sing in October. In November he conducted a very special concert in Pennsylvania in which the Wheatland Chorale performed the Gloria and Five Days that Changed the World, and he spent the day at the choral conference of ACDA PA. Later in November he returns to The Netherlands, to present some of his Christmas music to singers in Utrecht. In the UK he has conducted singing days in Macclesfield in Cheshire, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, and for Oxford Bach Choir. On 2 December there is another opportunity to hear The Voyage with a performance in Oxfordshire.
In January 2018 Bob travels to Houston for the ACDA Children’s Choir Retreat, where he will speak about the relationship between choir, poet, and composer, and in February works with upper-voice singers in Madrid. His first singing day is in Weybridge on 10 February, and then in Newcastle on 24 February, where he will also conduct Voices of Hope in concert.
Opportunities to sing with Bob in 2018 include the DCINY concert in Carnegie Hall with the King’s Singers in April, and a concert in July with The Really Big Chorus at London’s Royal Albert Hall in which Bob will mark the 50th anniversary of his recording of the treble solo in the King’s College, Cambridge recording of Fauré’s Requiem. The Requiem will be paired on this occasion with Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise. Visit the DCINY and TRBC websites for details of how to participate in these concerts,