Alan's evocative carol, based on an old Celtic text received two wonderful perfomances in early December by The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge, directed by Sarah MacDonald, at their service of Nine Lessons and Carols . It formed the last choir carol before the Ninth Lesson, creating an atmosphere of rich calm and devotion in the candlelight.
There is no Rose
Alan recently set these traditional words for 5-part choir for The Marenzio Singers - they gave it a very succesful first performance at a 'Darkness to Light' Advent service at Great Wenham Church on 27 November. The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College sung it at Lamberhurst Parish Church on December 10th and it will be published by OUP in 2012.
This large-scale piece for choir and orchestra, first performed in 1980 by the Colchester Choral Society, director Ian Ray, was performed again by the same performers on Saturday 19th November at St Botolph's Church Colchester, with the excellent tenor soloist Tom Raskin.
Alan's short piece for solo flute Rowardennan, written this summer while on holiday near Loch Lomond, was first performed by Nancy Ruffer at St Botolph's Church, Colchester on 22 October in an afternoon concert sponsored by Colchester New Music and Primavera Music.
Carols for Choirs 5 has recently been published by OUP containing 50 carols new and old in the 'Carols for Choirs' tradition. It contains two of Alan's most popular carols, Glory to the Christ Child and Scots Nativity, and a brand new carol of Alan's as well, I saw a stable for SATB unaccompanied.
Bede received its first performance at the Headgate Theatre, Colchester, on 11 May. Performed by Lindsay Gowers (soprano) and Sarah Watts (bass clarinet), it is a setting of a short poem by Anna Crowe, entitled Parable. Bede is dying at Jarrow, and blesses his brother monks with all he owns - linen, incense, pepper -the poet developing the concept of how `less is more, and little, much'.
Anna Crowe lives in St Andrews, Scotland and works as a poet and translator (mainly from Catalan and Castilian) and as a creative writing tutor. She was formerly the director of Stanza, Scotland's poetry festival, and her work has been translated into Catalan and Spanish.
This cantata for youth choir and SATB choir received a very successful first performance on March 19 by the Hillingdon Choral Society, conducted by Peter Williams, with Rufus Frowde and Lawrence Frankel (pianos). Shortly to be published by Colne Edition, the eight movements comprise tales of travel, in our imagination and in reality: mysterious travellers from unknown lands, journeys by train, by sea, and on horse-back, and visions of the future. Combining poems of the past with poems by today's young people, the music of this accessible cantata is designed to appeal to all choirs and their audiences.
This 'dramatic scena' for soprano and recorder tells the story of Good King Wenceslas in colourful detail - as a member of the audience described it: 'for once I was seriously worried about the poor page, struggling under the weight of all those pine logs and flagons of wine...' Commissioned and first performed by Maria Jette, with John West on recorder(s), at the Guildhall, Plymouth Congregational Church. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA on Boxing Day (St Stephen's Day).
Music Industry Association Awards
- November 2010 - Alan Bullard scoops three awards!
Alan Bullard and his wife Jan were special guests at the Music Industries Association (MIA) annual Awards at the Landmark Hotel in London on Wednesday 24th November, to see Alan win a surprise hat-trick of awards. The 'Oxford Book of Flexible Carols' which Alan compiled and edited for Oxford University Press won 'Best Classical Publication', and Alan's piano sight-reading series, 'Joining the Dots', published by ABRSM, won both the 'Innovation in Printed Music Publishing' and 'Best Educational Publication' awards.
In a short speech Alan said
`This really is a great honour - and a great surprise! I'm delighted that Joining the Dots and The Oxford Book of Flexible Carols have been recognised by the industry in this way. These books wouldn't have happened without the skilful support of the staff at both OUP and ABRSM - thank you all for your encouragement and support.'
New work for woodwind orchestra
- Journey through Time
This 16-minute work was given its first performance by its commissioners, the Bloomsbury Woodwind Ensemble and BWE2, conducted by Shea Lolin and David Morris, at St Johns Smith Square on 27 November. The members of BWE2 (flute and clarinet choir) were placed in the gallery, giving full rein to the antiphonal effects in the piece, which was well received by players and audience. Alan Bullard is planning to make a version of the piece for Concert Band during the new year.
Dover Te Deum - new publication
Alan Bullard's Dover Te Deum is newly published by Encore Publications. Details
Angel Alleluias and Glory to the Christ Child
- new US recordings
Alan Bullard's Angel Alleluias is included on a new recording by the Atlanta Sacred Chorale, director Eric Nelson, entitled 'While Shepherds Lately Knelt'. You can hear a clip of it here
And Glory to the Christ Child is included on a new recording called 'Shepherds, Rejoice' by the choir of St.Paul's United Methodist Church, Houston, Texas.
New work for marimba solo
Alan Bullard's new piece for solo marimba, Level, received its first performance at the Swinburne Hall, Colchetser, on 26 May, in a concert organised by Colchester New Music. Internationally renowned percussionist Joby Burgess gave a beautifully shaped performance of this expressive and relaxed work. For more details, please contact the composer.
Joining the Dots 'vodcast'
The ABRSM are currently featuring this video, in which I demonstrate Joining the Dots, aided by Jan's pupil Niamh O'Neill. It was filmed by Classic Arts Productions in our back room (which luckily we had just decorated!), and you can see it here
North Sea Sketches for recorder ensemble
Commissioned by the Society of Recorder Players for their 2010 National Festival in Felixstowe, Suffolk, this new piece, an arrangement of a number of songs about the sea, received its first perfomance by an orchestra of over 200 recorder players consisting of the massed delegates, conducted by Moira Usher, on May 8th. The work is published by Peacock Press
New work for upper-voice choir
Commissioned for Jan Spooner-Swabey's choir, JuSSt Voices, Alan Bullard's setting of Yeats' poem 'He wishes for the cloths of heaven' received its first performance at St Pauls Arts Centre, Worthing, on April 10th. The piece is now published by OUP, under the title Tread Softly
The new year 2010 began with a broadcast of Alan Bullard's New Year Carol
it was sung by the BBC Singers on Radio 3 in Rob Cowan's New Year's Day Breakfast programme
King's College Cambridge
Alan's carol Glory to the Christ Child
has just been issued on a CD - it's the performance given at the 2008 Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, directed by Stephen Cleobury - follow this link
Alan's carol And all the stars looked down received a lovely performance by the Sixteen, director Harry Christophers, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on December 10th
Saturday/Sunday 12-13 September 2009
Britten Sinfonia/Colchester Borough Council project
Alan Bullard's new piece for this project, Hollytrees - at home with Mr and Mrs Round, recieved eight excellent performances over this weekend in Hollytrees Museum, as well as a performance at Colchester Arts Centre on the Saturday evening. The performer was Sarah Burnett, principal bassoonist of the Britten Sinfonia.
Hollytrees is a spacious Georgian town house in the centre of Colchester, overlooking Castle Park at the back and the High Street at the front. Now a museum of life in the town, it was the home of the Round family for most of the nineteenth century.
The piece is interactive, and each performance is slightly different, as the performer responds to the entry and exit of the visitors to the house with phrases of greeting in which the music suggests `Welcome to Hollytrees' and `Very pleased to have met you'. Furthermore, all the music, and the shape of the piece, derives from the words `Round' and `Hollytrees'. At busy times of day, the performance was quite long!
Wednesday 27 May 2009
Colchester New Music Day - 'Infinite Space - in a nutshell'
Alan Bullard was the featured composer for this day, organised by Colchester New Music in association with Colchester Institute. There were two concerts and a workshop, all featuring Gemini - director Ian Mitchell.
12.00 at St Botolph's Church Colchester - this concert included Alan Bullard's Workout for tenor sax and piano, performed by Christian Forshaw and Huw Watkins, and new works by Julia Usher, Alan Parsons and Stuart Russell
2.30 at Colchester Institute - Gemini workshop on student compositions, led by Alan Bullard
7.30 at Colchester Institute (Swinburne Hall) - this concert included Alan Bullard's A Minor Deconstruction for clarinet, violin, and piano, and works by Paul Buckley, Mark Bellis, Colin Blundell, Tim Torry, Eric Hudes, and Lawrence Glazier. Both concerts also included works by Webern.
Alan's Christmas carol Glory to the Christ-Child was performed again at the King College Cambridge Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, broadcast on Radio 4 on Christmas Eve and Radio 3 on Christmas Day, directed by Stephen Cleobury. In 2007 it followed the bidding prayer at the start of the service: this year it preceded the final reading from St John's Gospel.
On October 4th 2008, Alan Bullard received the honorary degree of Doctor of the University of Essex at an awards ceremony at Colchester Institute, in recognition of his reputation as a composer and his contribution to music education. This is the first honorary doctorate to be granted as a result of the new partnership between Colchester Institute and the University of Essex.
First performances in May 2008 (click links for details)
Alan Bullard's new Concerto for Recorder and Strings
recieved its first performance by John Turner (recorders) and the Manchester Chamber Ensemble, director Richard Howarth, at St. Mary's Church, Stockport, Cheshire, on 10 May. The version for recorder and piano is now published by Peacock Press.
The concert also contained the first performance of a new version of Welcome May!
with string orchestra accompaniment, performed by its commissioners, the Maia Singers, conductor John Pomphrey,
and both performances were enjoyed by a capacity audience.
Alan Bullard's new choral work, Pictures of Night
, commissioned by Essex Vocal Ensembles, received its first performance at the Swinburne Hall, Colchester, on May 31st 2008, and was then repeated on the choir's German Tour in the Summer. A presentation was made about the work by the conducot, Janette Ruocco, and Alan, to members of ABCD later in August
And Bullard's Solitary Reaper recieves its first US performance, by Maria Jette and Young-Nam Kim, at Trinity Episcopal Church, Excelsior, Minnesota, on May 25 2008.